Since 2013, the Athens Airport Advisory Board, city officials and the Athens Economic Development Corporation have all been a part of an effort to expand the runway at the Athens Municipal Airport.
The expansion effort was started in hopes of making it possible to land larger aircraft coming to the city.
That effort received a nice boost Friday as State Rep. Stuart Spitzer joined with the Texas Department of Transportation to announce the awarding of an Aviation Facilities Grant to the airport. This is an important step in expanding the length of the runway, and bringing additional business to the Athens community.
Spitzer serves as treasurer of the Texas House’s General Aviation Caucus.
“I am happy to see these improvements moving forward, and I will continue to work closely with the City of Athens and TxDOT to ensure this project moves forward as smoothly as possible,” Spitzer said.
Athens Municipal Airport is among the number of airports that will receive funding with about $150,000 being approved for planned airport improvements, including an extension of the existing runway length.
A project consultant will be selected this summer, and the costs will be funded through the City of Athens and TxDOT Aviation Facilities Grant Program, which preserves and improves the state’s general aviation system.
The Athens City Council authorized Mayor Jerry Don Vaught to sign a letter of intent requesting grant funding from TxDOT to help expand the runway at Athens Municipal Airport in late January.
The letter stated that the City of Athens is requesting consideration from a federal-aid grant to receive a master-plan update.
It informs the TxDOT Aviation Division that Athens has purchased the property adjacent to Athens Municipal Airport in hopes of building a longer runway.