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Taxiway project could start in July

WINTERSVILLE — The official new name of the Jefferson County Airpark received another tweak, and one of the latest big projects to improve the airport could start as soon as next month.

Both topics were among those discussed with Lance Wanamaker, an engineering consultant from Michael Baker International, during Monday’s meeting of the Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority Board of Trustees.

Michael Baker is the board’s engineering consultant.

Wanamaker brought up the topic of the name “airpark” when discussing the process to officially change the name of the airport with the Federal Aviation Administration to include founding board member, still active, Geary A. Bates’s name.

That process began with a move by the Jefferson County Commissioners to pass a resolution to rename the airport after Bates back in January.

At a recent board meeting, the topic of the airport being referred to as an airpark was brought up, with a tenant at the airport saying it was confusing to explain to others not familiar with it.

Monday, secretary treasure Gary Folden explained that the name airpark comes from combining the terms airport and industrial park because the facility houses other businesses not related to the airport.

The board advised Wanamaker to proceed with renaming the airport itself the Geary A. Bates Jefferson County Airport. Later, while discussing a new sign being designed for the entrance of the facility, it was suggested to keep the name airpark on that sign to represent the facility as a whole.

Also discussed by Wanamaker was a grant to fund the resurfacing of the taxiway.

The project, fully-funded by the FAA, went to bid at the May meeting, with Rayland’s Shelly and Sands turning in the low bid of $2,680,091.

Wanamaker said the funding from the grants should be received within the next couple of weeks, at which time the processes with the contractor will begin.

He told the board that construction on the project could begin as soon as the middle of July. The original schedule of work submitted, he noted, had construction starting in late July.

The total length of the project, Wanamaker estimated without looking at the specific plans, will be between three and four months, putting it completed sometime around October.

The installation of the automated weather observing system is awaiting a frequency from the FAA, though Wanamaker was informed by the board equipment has been delivered to the airport.

He said his company would contact the contractor in the project to try and speed things up.

The board’s next meeting is set for 4 p.m. on July 12.

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