The recently completed paving of at the Morristown Regional Airport runway is the culmination of a five-year, $4.5 million spending program that marks the first time in at least 14 years that the entire paved surface, including the taxiways and apron, have been simultaneously covered with a new coat of asphalt, officials say.
The paving project, like the new terminal and other game-changing airport improvements, was largely funded by grants from the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission. Morristown City Administrator Tony Cox says the runway will not need paving for seven years.
The $325,000 in new asphalt cost city government just $15,000 – a 5-percent share – and solidifies the Morristown airport’s reputation as one of the premiere small airports in the state, according to Louis “Doe” Jarvis, chairman of the Morristown Regional Airport Commission. Jarvis and city officials say the rebuilt airport is vital to creating new jobs.
“There is a tremendous amount of pride in the Morristown Regional Airport,” said Joey Barnard, Morristown finance director who now serves as the city’s point man on airport-related matters. “It’s the front door to the city, and has a major impact in our ability to recruit, develop and maintain our industrial base.
“City council and the airport commission are to be commended for planning the long-range success of the airport and our community,” Barnard added. “The city of Morristown is appreciative of the working relationship with the Tennessee Aeronautics Department.”
While it’s rarely weighed in a strict financial measure, the 120-acre Morristown Regional Airport is city government’s largest single asset. Jarvis estimates the replacement cost at $75 million.
He says that since the airport commission was formed approximately five years ago, the improvements also include expanding the apron; reworking the fuel farm; improving drainage; clearing debris on the north and east sides of the property; and paving the terminal parking lot.
The next big-ticket proposed project is removing at least 10 T-hangers that lie inside the object-free zone surrounding the runway and replacing them with new hangars, Jarvis said this morning.
He says city government will once again look to state aeronautics officials for significant help in building the new T-hangars and making drainage improvements where they now stand.
Jarvis says he’s planning to ask for $1.5 million when he goes to the aeronautics commission some time between February and April.
He says that amount will cover most of the construction costs.
Some of the T-hangars slated for removal came to Morristown from other locations, and because of less-than-perfect-fitting hangar doors and age-related leaks, cannot be relocated.