Major improvements continue at the Winnsboro Municipal Airport, said Terry Shirley, airport manager.
Some $215,000 will be spent on apron and taxiway improvements. The improvements are funded in part by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“With this grant, 90 percent was paid by the federal government and 10 percent was paid by the state government,” Shirley said. “This cost the town of Winnsboro nothing.”
One airport apron will completely be torn out and will receive a new layer of asphalt, Shirley said. Another apron will be overlaid with asphalt. Additionally, the airport’s taxiway will be overlaid with asphalt.
Shirley also announced improvements to the access road leading to airport hangers have been completed and tree obstructions near the runway will soon be removed. Improvements to the access road cost $91,595 and were also funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant, Shirley said.
Congressman Ralph Abraham pushed for funding in several area airports including Winnsboro Municipal Airport.
“It is always encouraging when we can bring our federal tax dollars home to Louisiana and invest them in our local communities,” Abraham said in a statement about the grant. “Our local airports are so important to the economic health of rural communities, and I’m glad to see that so many of my district’s airports will benefit from these grants.”
Shirley envisions major improvements in the airport in the next few years.
“We’re still working toward improving our hangers,” Shirley said.
A future improvement Winnsboro Mayor Sonny Dumas would like to see is airport runway expansion.
“I would like to see our airport and runways expand, so we can accommodate larger airplanes,” Dumas said. “Our airport is located in a central area, and it allows smaller planes to come in and the pilots to take a rest. But, we want to pull more national clientele in with the larger planes.”
The airport’s runway will be refurbished sometime next year, Shirley said. After the runway, he foresees a six-foot fence installed around the entire property.
Shirley estimates Winnsboro’s airport sees over 100 planes per month. Customers include those from national business executives to local pilots.
In order to better serve airport customers, Shirley hopes to eventually incorporate a “loaner car,” so visitors can take advantage of local restaurants and stores.
“Many airports have loaner cars, and it is a real asset to the airport and a convenience to the pilot,” Shirley said.
Dumas attributed success of the airport to current and previous management.
“From Mr. Lanny Rundell, to Rev. George Ferrington to Travis and Terry Shirley, we have had some great managers at the airport,” Dumas said. “We have a diversified talent at the airport, and I support the airport 100 percent. It is needed and helpful to our community and area.”