Grant helps Craig with upgrades

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

Craig Airfield is open for business and is getting an upgrade.

Thanks to a grant award from U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R- Ala., the airfield is the recipient of a needed $450,000 federal grant for improvements.

“This program will rehabilitate the apron and runway, as the existing concrete has begun to deteriorate. We must continue to invest in our airport infrastructure to provide the safest and most efficient travel for Alabamians,” Shelby said in announcing the award.

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This announcement is great news, especially coming on the heels of a disappointing loss bid from partner Lockheed Martin to the U.S. Air Force for Introductory Flight Training.

Menzo Driskell, executive director of the Airport Authority, reminded us that there is a lot more traffic out at the airport than people may think.

The traffic has loosened concrete along the corners of the concrete squares and presents a potential hazard to the planes.

Driskell went on to say that the potential cost of repairs for a plane could run up to $1,500 or more.

There was a need to rehabilitate the runway and thanks to Shelby, that work is about to take place.

Providing a safe and hazard free landing ranks high on the lists for potential travelers when seeking a destination to land their airplanes.

Our goal is to bring more traffic to the airport, not turn it away.

Even more importantly, the grant is another symbol of the confidence that our state politicians have in our jewel of an airfield at Craig.

In addition to the grant from Shelby’s office, there is another $740,000 in funds from the federal government, which are expected to come.

The airfield has also applied for another grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation to resurface West Park Road.

This is evidence that our airport authority is busy at work improving the conditions of their airport and surrounding areas.

The example that Driskell and the airport authority are setting should be carried over into other areas of our community such as downtown restoration and beautification.

There are grants to aid in this work as well – there just needs to be concentrated efforts in seeking for them and follow-through.