Airport plans

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The town of Franklinton has some big plans for its municipal airport, and the selection of an engineering consulting service was a first step in making those proposed improvements a reality.

During a special Board of Aldermen meeting Monday morning, a Selection Committee that included Mayor Wayne Fleming, Alderman Richard Dillon, Alderman Brad Orman and airport manager Tom Shedd presented its recommendation for an engineering consulting service. The committee’s recommendation of KSA, an Alexandria firm, was unanimously approved.

The committee members, who had a difficult task in evaluating the five bids that had been submitted, did a wonderful job, Fleming said.

The mayor also discussed the town’s long-range plans for the airport, which currently consists of the airport facility, a runway and a couple of hangars. He said the idea is to update the airport and bring it back up to standard.

The proposed work would be done in phases over a five-year period, through grant funding from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Aviation Division. Fleming said the town hopes to receive up to $500,000 in funding over five years.

The newly selected engineering firm will be responsible for applying for the funds, writing out the plans for the airport and putting those plans into effect, “depending on the monies that we can receive,” Fleming said.

Among the planned work, the town is looking to make improvements to the runway and put up new fencing at the airport, Fleming said.

“At the present time we have two roads that lead into the airport,” he said. “We will close one of those, and we will have an automatic gate.”

Fleming said town officials are considering building more hangars since this has been requested by pilots wanting to “park” their planes at the airport. Another proposed addition is a small, secure building for use by pilots.

“It will have a desk where they can sit down and map out where they might be going from there,” he said.

Restroom facilities, not currently available, would be added, too, Fleming said. The installation of a fuel system for airplanes is also being considered.

While there is already a good deal of activity at the airport and a number of planes flying in, the proposed improvements would be beneficial to Franklinton’s economy, Fleming said. For example, someone has expressed interest in the possibility of reopening the small airplane-repair shop at the site, and the new hangars would be available for rent through the town, he said.

Thus, an upgraded airport would be a good thing for Franklinton, “particularly since it’s not costing the town anything,” Fleming said.