$3M grant will fund airport improvements


NEWLAND – Big improvements are coming soon to the Avery County Airport. 

Utilizing $3 million in state and federal grant funding, Avery Airport officials plan to construct a new partial-length parallel taxiway and finish the expansion of the aircraft parking apron. 

The North Carolina Board of Transportation this past July approved the latest round of state and federal grants for airport infrastructure improvements. Avery County Airport is one of a dozen airports in the state that will undergo improvement projects fueled by the latest round of grants. 

Avery County Airport Chairman Sam Calvert said the airport improvements will have a positive effect on the area. 

“It’ll be good for all the counties nearby,” Calvert said. “It’s going to be a real good improvement to our airport.”

The project is scheduled to be worked on in several phases over a 150-day period with a winter shutdown period not included. The project is expected to be completed by late 2020 or early 2021.

“It’s going to make it a lot better for traffic coming in,” Calvert said. “It’ll improve the chances of getting more aircraft and more hangars in the area.”

Part of the improvements will involve building a new hangar and putting a new terminal building in. The old hangar will be torn down and moved. 

The new terminal building will be built in a log cabin style to match the decor of the North Carolina Mountains. 

Once all of the funding-related paperwork is filed, the project will begin with phase one, which includes the installation of a new paved drive and parking lot, removal of the existing chain-link fence and gate relocation and installation of a new chain link fence and a temporary gate.

“The money has already been approved,” Calvert said. “It’s now just a matter of getting the paperwork done.”