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Airport to see big upgrades in the future

The Brookhaven airport has recently received quite a bit of attention in order to bring it up to par.

Ryan Holmes, with Dungan Engineering, updated the Board of Aldermen Tuesday on the status of the airport runway crack seal and restriping project.

“We just had a final inspection on our crack sealing and pavement marker project,” Holmes said. “I just really can’t say enough about Sunbelt Sealing in Jackson. They just did an excellent job, and the airport was very minimally impacted.”

Sunbelt Sealing brought in three crews in the last month and completed the airport project in a 10-day period, he said.

“Very seldom do you have a project where you start and finish all in the same month,” Holmes said. “We have one pay request.”

The total cost of the project rounded out at $110,941, but the city will only have to pay five percent, which is $5,547.05, Holmes said. The state will match the city’s payment of five percent and the FAA’s airport improvement program will be responsible for the other 90 percent, he said.

The crack seal project was done as preventative maintenance for the runway. 

“The surface itself is in pretty durable shape,” Holmes said. “What we’re trying to do is keep water from getting in the subgrade and ruining it. The FAA has expressed that they want to — in the next three to four years — send us some discretionary funds they have to overlay it, which will be a several million dollar project. This was just a mere trying to protect what we got, so a project doesn’t cost twice as much in a few years.”

In addition to Holmes’ update on the completion of the airport project, Paul Barnett, a newly appointed Airport Advisory Board member, informed the aldermen of the advisory board’s plans.

“I’m coming to work with (Holmes), the state and the federal government to get money for us,” Barnett said. “We — myself, Jessie Bowie, Kenny Goza, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Josh Reed — are excited to be established on the board, thanks to your appointment of us.”

Barnett said the advisory board will meet every other month, and plans to update the aldermen a minimum of two times a year.

“The Lincoln County-Brookhaven Airport is another exit and on ramp to our community,” he said. “What we’re focused on — number one is safety, and then economic development. Right now, we have Walmart and Georgia Pacific using the airport. We’re looking at some enhancements by which we will be able to retain them at the airport and attract others. Those are going to be some of the top things on our agenda.”

Barnett ended his visit by inviting the board out to visit the airport and look at the new airport enhancements.

In other board business:

• Holmes informed the board that the plans for the downtown renovations have been complete. He plans to advertise for the project in December and bid it out in January. The contractor selected could begin as early as February or as late at April, depending on weather.

• The board approved a contract between the city and Mississippi Department of Transportation to adopt an interchange agreement at exit 42. This agreement will allow the city to take over cutting the grass around the interchange, according to Mayor Joe Cox.