Plans for airport relocation grounded
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's airport is staying put.
The Hartselle City Council decided not to commit to the first phase of a long-term study of the airport. City officials were considering conducting the study to determine if the airport should be expanded or relocated.
In the end, the study's cost was the deciding factor for many.
"At this point, I don't feel we should continue with the relocation study," Councilman Don Hall said. "I'm not saying we should close the airport. We need to focus on maintaining it as it is."
The initial phase of the study would have cost some $20,000-35,000. The first phase would have looked at the facilities offered at the current airport and would have been required before the Federal Aviation Administration would consider allocating funds for expansion or relocation.
The next phase of the study would include more detailed examinations of the current facility and possibly site selection if the airport were moved. That phase could cost as much as $200,000.
Earlier in the month, representatives from Volkert and Associates, an engineering firm specializing in transportation projects, said the number of airports in the area would limit the FAA's participation.
There are currently five airports within an hour's drive of Hartselle.
Mayor Clif Knight said he had asked other municipalities in the area to help cover the costs, but could not receive any support for the plan.
The recent attention to the airport comes on the heels of complaints from residents who live in neighboring subdivisions, many of whom supported the plan to move the airport.
Residents of Tanner Heights said planes fly too low and are too loud and were against any plans to expand the airport.
The airport's master plan contains a proposal to expand the existing runway by 400 feet. However, according to Airport Manager Stoney Powell, the runway extension proposal has been in the works since 1973 and is not an immediate project.
Powell's company, Blackstone Rotorcraft, is constructing 16 new private hangars at the airport. He hopes the $600,000-700,000 project will attract more plane owners to the facility.