Monroe Regional Airport Director Ron Phillips feels with growth and expansion within the Air Industrial Park, the site is ready to expand even further.
“Our goal is to create an airport city,” Phillips said in a news conference Monday. He will conduct a public hearing Tuesday during the Monroe City Council meeting to update the city’s master plan for the airport.
Phillips said the airport presently provides an economic impact of about $100 million for Monroe. He said the city is looking to expand infrastructure and increase capacity for further commercial, retail and quality of life development. The $35 million airport terminal opened in 2011. In November, a new airport rescue fire fighting station opened next to the terminal.
Among the ideas for the master plan are industrial development parks, retail sites, business park areas, a transportation center and a convention center and hotel. Upgrades at the airport include creating parallel taxiways as well as extending a secondary runway by approximately 1,300 feet.
Phillips said the master plan could take the city through the next 10 to 15 years. “It could provide increase the airport’s economic impact of possibly $75 to $100 million,” he said.
Economic development funds
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said he hopes to continue funding for two local organizations with items before the council in Tuesday’s meeting. Mayo said the administration will request a donation of $10,000 for the NOVA Workforce Institute. NOVA has a program in place to teach soft skills that prepare individuals seeking to improve employment opportunities. The organization also works to pair those workers with potential employers.
The mayor is asking for the council to support a collaborative effort between the city and Ouachita Green. The group is a partnership between Monroe, West Monroe and Ouachita Parish in beautification efforts. The city would commit $20,000 per year for three years with an annual review. The commitment would match that of the other jurisdictions.
“This project is an investment in making the city and parish cleaner,” Keep Monroe Beautiful Executive Director Greg Smith said. The collaboration is also seeking a part-time employee to oversee mandated cleanup projects and perform fundraising and public relations awareness campaigns.