Cullman Regional Airport improvement project gets city council approval

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The Cullman City Council on Monday evening passed three resolutions to make improvements to the Cullman Regional Airport. / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN – The Cullman Regional Airport was the main topic of Monday evening’s Cullman City Council meeting; the council passed three resolutions to make improvements at the airport.  Two of the three authorized the first phase of a two-year project to improve the airport’s taxiway, while the third set the stage for continuation and completion of the project in 2018.

Airport Director Ben Harrison met with The Tribune to explain the project.

“Phase one is basically going to be directly in front of the terminal.  We’ve got some issues where our connector between the apron and taxiway are not large enough, so we’re going to reconstruct that connector, and then reconstruct the base of the taxiway to hold up larger aircraft,” said Harrison. “We have a runway that will hold a heavier aircraft, we have an apron that will hold a heavier aircraft; we just have to get the taxiway connected to them.”

The scope of the project is large enough to be carried out in two parts, based on the fiscal calendar. 

Harrison continued, “So, the way it’s going to have to go, with the length of the taxiway, it’s going to be a two-phase project.  Phase two will be the next fiscal year: wherever we leave off with phase one, we’ll just pick up with phase two.”

This year’s project builds upon another recently-completed project on the south taxiway.

“The south taxiway is totally complete,” said Harrison.  “That project was finished up this year.  Then the north taxiway has to be brought up to speed, as well.”

In its entirety, the project does not mean an expansion of the airport’s runways and taxiways, but an equalization of the quality and capabilities of all existing paved surfaces for aircraft.  The resolutions passed by the council awarded a bid for phase one to Wiregrass Construction Company in the amount of $512,685.41, and approved Mayor Woody Jacobs to enter into a grant agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for the project.  Under the grant terms, the City and County will only have to pay five percent of that cost.  The council also approved a proposal to apply for additional funding for next year’s phase two.

The airport serves local businesses’ personnel and cargo transport needs, as well as hosting the Wallace State Community College Aviation program, Skydive Alabama, Air Evac Lifeteam, Alabama State Troopers and the Cullman City Police Department.  The facility even has its own restaurant, The Prop, open for breakfast and lunch Thursdays through Sundays.

Of the Cullman Regional Airport, Harrison stated, “We are an economic development driver for the city of Cullman and for all of Cullman County.  We don’t do economic development, but we host the companies that are coming in, that are doing economic development here.  I would say, pretty much all the large industry, at some point in time, always has someone coming into the airport several times per year, whether it be executives, whether it be air cargo that they need, whether it be people coming in to do business with them.  So, constantly, we have someone coming in that deals with all the local major suppliers.”

Other council business

The council approved four special event permit requests:

  • From Alicia and Mark Leigeber of Lock Down Ranch Outreach for a special event permit to hold a festival including vendors, artists, demonstrations and children’s activities in Heritage Park from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on August 4-6.
  • From Sammie Danford of the United Way of Cullman County for a special event permit to hold the annual Depot Day free event in Depot Park from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Aug. 19.
  • From Kathy Wilson of the Cullman County Human Trafficking Task Force for a special event permit to hold an Awareness Walk and Rally on the sidewalks around the Cullman County Courthouse from 8-11 a.m. on Aug. 14.
  • From Sue Turner of Life Chain Cullman for a special event permit to hold a pro-life prayer vigil on the sidewalks around the Cullman County Courthouse from 12:30-2 p.m. on Oct. 21.

The council also approved the appointment of Trent Lowery to complete the term of Jean Green, who retired from the Cullman City Planning Commission.

The Cullman City Council usually meets on the second and fourth Monday evenings of each month at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Cullman City Hall.  The public is invited to attend.

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