Mike Slifer WVNS
The Impacts of Mercer County Airport in the Local Region
July 13, 2018
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  • Mercer county airport still plays a role in the community, even though you can no longer catch a flight into the airport.

    Commercial airlines no longer stop at the Mercer county airport, but the airport does remain active.

    This stretch of runway near Bluefield may not see the same activity an airport like Yeager might be used to, but it still sees its fair share of planes passing through.

    From business owners surveying property to hobbyists, people are still making good use of this airport.

    “When Rural King wanted to build a store about a year ago, before they even had a location picked out, they actually flew into our airport,” said Clint Ransom, the Director of the Mercer County Airport.

    “If the airport wasn’t there, they may have just skipped over Bluefield and not even stopped by.”

    People like Chandler Swope, a pilot and a man who loves the sky, are a common sight as they prepare for takeoff.

    “Flying is fun. It’s a great hobby and great for business,” Swope told us.

    Like roadways, runways need regular maintenance to remain a safe place for aircraft to land, and keep the airport functioning.

    “The repaving of the runway only happens every 30 or 40 years, but it does need to happen,” said Swope.

    But paving a stretch of runway is an expensive project – one many places can’t pay for alone.

    “The FAA grants are 90% grants, so 90% of the funds for this project comes from the federal government. Each year we have a different project, and this year just happened to be a runway rehab,” said Ransom.

    Even with that 90 percent covered, a portion of the bill still needs to be paid locally.

    “We apply for a grant from the federal government. If we’re awarded the grant, we apply for a grant from the state, and the state matches it 5% which leaves us with a 5% local share,” Ransom continued.

    With scheduled renovations coming to Mercer county airport, we may see activity increase at the airport.