Dozens of community leaders and officials took advantage of the sunshine Monday as they gathered for the ribbon cutting of the recently completed runway extension at Lone Star Executive Airport.
The $17 million extension added 1,500 feet to Runway 1432. The Texas Department of Transportation funded about $15 million of the project, with the county pitching in about $2.5 million.
The land for the project, 40 acres in total, was donated by Gene and Judy Campbell, of Conroe, who officials thanked numerous times for the family’s generosity.
“Gene and I got involved in this in the very beginning,” Judy Campbell said. “We have been very honored to be a part of it and with the growth. Gene has been gone 10 years, but I know he is looking down and is so proud and happy with everything.”
County Judge Craig Doyal said the runway extension is an asset to the entire county.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Montgomery County and the city of Conroe,” Doyal said. “It will enhance our opportunity for economic development. It is a perfect complement for the (Deison Technology Park) and the (Conroe Park North Industrial Park).”
Over the past 12 years, Doyal noted, there have been over $30 million invested in the airport.
“That is something we can all be proud off,” he said.
Doyal also noted the runway will be a “huge factor” in the construction of a new customs facility that would allow international customers to fly directly into LSEA and pass through U.S. Customs, making it the farthest point north of Houston to allow international arrivals and departures. Construction of the facility would cost up to $2.4 million.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador cited the collaborative effort of the county and state for making the project a reality.
“TxDOT had approved a 7,000-foot runway extension; (Commissioners Court) had the vision to go ahead and add 500 feet to it,” Meador said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot; but in airport construction, it is quite a bit.
“It has all come together. It’s been coming for years.”
Dave Fulton, director of TxDOT’s Aviation Division, echoed Meador.
“We appreciate our partnership with (Meador), the Commissioners Court, the county judge and the citizens of this county making this airport what it is today,” Fulton said. “This airport, in my mind, will soon be the airport of choice for corporate business aviation for certainly the north Houston area, if not the whole Houston area.”