Foley seeking $1.94-million airport grant

By Guy Busby
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 10/26/22

FOLEY — City officials hope to add a new airport terminal if a $1.94-million grant is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.The Foley City Council voted Monday, Oct. 17 to request the …

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Foley seeking $1.94-million airport grant

Posted

FOLEY — City officials hope to add a new airport terminal if a $1.94-million grant is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Foley City Council voted Monday, Oct. 17 to request the FAA grant for airport improvements. The total cost of the project would be about $2.04 million with Foley paying about 5% of the total, according to Mike Thompson, city administrator.

"If we get it, it would be a nice thing because it's a 95% grant, so it'll allow us to build a new terminal for the airport out there," Thompson said.

He said the current terminal building includes space for a pilot lounge, offices for the airport management and repair facilities.

"We would probably leave the current building for the mechanical stuff," Thompson said. "Then we would build a separate terminal for the lounge and for the fixed-based operators, administrative space and stuff like that."

The grant application stated that the expansion would increase traffic at the airport and create more opportunities for tourism, which would create long-term jobs for people that would be needed to operate and maintain the terminal building.

Thompson said the FAA often provides grants for asphalt for runways and similar improvements, but terminal funding is not available as often.

"I just know that they anticipate having some funds available for terminal structures for the next couple years," Thompson said. "Our goal is to get it this year, but if we don't get selected this year, we'd reapply next year for it. And hopefully, between this year and next year, we'd get it."

Thompson said demand for services at the airport is increasing as the south Baldwin population grows. The airport has about 100 aircraft owners on a waiting list for hangar space.

Two hangars at the airport were recently reopened after being damaged during Hurricane Sally in 2020. The airport also added another hangar building in the last two years. The facility can now house 40 aircraft, Thompson said.

"And then we have about 100 pilots on a waiting list for hangar space," Thompson said. "As much hangar space as we want to build, we could fill. So, there's a lot of demand for what I call our leisure pilots, noncommercial pilots, pleasure fliers, and there's a lot of demand for that right now."

Thompson said some companies have inquired about adding commercial services, such as a landing site for medical helicopters, but the airport does not have space to extend its runway to accommodate more flights or larger aircraft.

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