Thursday, October 18, 2012
Progress continues at airport
By BARRY BURLESON
The future of the Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport is bright.
“We’re in a great position, with our economic development, to grow the airport,” manager Justin Hall said. “We’re excited about the future.”
Holly Springs Rotary Club members visited the airport Wednesday, Oct. 10, for their weekly meeting.
The big goal, he said, is extending the runway from 3,200 feet to 5,000 to accommodate jet traffic.
“We expect to move dirt on that within the next 18 months,” Hall said.
“We have to pick up a lot of (industrial) clients in Olive Branch or Memphis. If we could land them here – that’s our ultimate goal.”
Recent upgrades at the airport have included a fuel farm, additional hangars, an extended taxi-way and new lighting.
In the last five years, the airport, owned by the city and county, has received approximately $2 million in grant funds.
“The city and county fund the airport, but we can’t survive on that alone,” Hall said. “Our ultimate goal is to have a self-sustaining airport.”
He said compared to other smaller airports, the one adjacent to Highway 78 west of Holly Springs is doing well.
“It’s in a good location, and there’s a great need,” Hall said.
Congestion and space limitations continue to build at nearby airports like Olive Branch and Oxford.
“We’ve seen the demand,” he said.
All of the recent improvements and those still in the works at the Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport are part of a 20-year plan, put in place in 2007.
“That plan jump-started the airport, and things are really shaping up,” Hall said.
“It’s been adopted for five years, but we’re in year nine or 10 on development, so we’re ahead of schedule.”
Rotarian George Zinn, who serves as a Marshall County supervisor, was in charge of the program last week.
“The supervisors are very proud of the efforts at the airport,” Zinn said. “It’s a great economic development tool.”
Hall also praised what he called “the lifeblood of the airport,” referring to John Jewell Aircraft.
“We would like to see aviation-type businesses grow and expand here, too,” he said.
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