RALEIGH — Bladen County pilots, airplane passengers and businesses will be getting a boost, thanks to funding coming down the pipeline from the N.C. Department of Transportation.
On Friday, The NCDOT’s Division of Aviation announced approval of state funding for 11 airports, including $161,000 for the Curtis L. Brown Field in Elizabethtown. The grant means $126,000 in funding for site work on the new terminal building and $35,000 for paving at the terminal parking area.
“This terminal building replaces a 25-year-old aging facility that wasn’t adequate for our needs, and it almost doubles the space,” said Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden. “It will be a nice, modern building that will be a better reflection of our town.”
When complete, the facility will be home to office space, classrooms, a conference room, restrooms with showers, a kitchen, and a pilot’s lounge.
Graca Builders, a Whiteville construction company, was awarded the project, which will be engineered by W.K. Dickson. Site work was scheduled to begin Monday or Tuesday, when crews would begin filling in the hole left by the removal of the former terminal building. Work is expected to be complete in October 2018.
The grants were just a portion of funds received to update the airport. Altogether, according to Madden, the town received $1.2 million and was required to match only between 5 and 10 percent of the funds.
The two most recent grants were part of a larger package of improvements intended to boost North Carolina’s aviation industry and its $31 billion contribution to the state’s economy. In all, the state allocated $4.7 million in safety and connectivity improvements across the state. Projects include runway extensions, paving, new taxiway lighting, and repairs to aprons, among others.
“Airports are a very critical part of our transportation system in North Carolina,” said Bobby Walston, Division of Aviation director. “They provide the connectivity that we need not only in our state, but to other states in the nation, as well as global markets.”
Other area airports will benefit from the grants. Fayetteville Regional will receive $1.1 million; Laurinburg-Maxton will be getting $175,000; and Pitt-Greenville is set to see $1.1 million.
In all, 11 airports will see funding from the round of grants announced. Other than those already named, recipients include Ashe County ($18,112), Elkin Municipal ($1.3 million), Richmond County ($160,373), Rockingham County/Shiloh ($266,400), Smith Reynolds in Winston-Salem ($172,000), Statesville Regional ($12,045), and Tri-County in Aulander ($57,940).
North Carolina has 72 publicly owned airports and nearly 300 privately owned airports, landing fields, and helipads. Ten airports have regularly scheduled commercial airline service, and two serve international destinations. There are over 7,000 registered aircraft based in the state, and 14,000 registered pilots. Every year, more than 56 million passengers fly to and from North Carolina and 1.3 billion pounds of cargo pass through the state’s airports.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.