Joe P. Asher
The Tucker Guthrie Memorial Airport will soon be taking bids to install a long-awaited runway lighting system. Bids will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Aug. 15, at which time the bids will be opened and read.
Harlan County Airport Board Chairman Mark Miracle explained they are still waiting on the state’s decision concerning additional funding.
“It’s been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and we’re waiting on the state right now,” said Miracle. “The state matches seven and a half percent. The federal does 90 percent — the state does seven and a half percent and the local is two and a half percent.”
Miracle explained state funding is not required for the project to be completed.
“It’s not that much money as far as the state is concerned, it’s only seven and a half percent. Worse case scenario if the state does not approve it the airport board will raise some funds or possibly fiscal court will pitch in.” explained Miracle.
According to Miracle, the exact cost for the project is still unknown.
“We really won’t know till the bids come in. We’re estimating the project’s total cost will probably be $300,000,” said Miracle.
Paul Steely of PDC Consultants, of Franklin, Tenn., and the engineering firm advising the board on the project, expects work to begin shortly after the bidding period closes.
“If everything meets the FAA’s satisfaction and they approve it and issue the grant, what we hope to do is have this project started sometime in September,” said Steely. “We hope to have the project completed by the end of this calender year.”
According to Steely, the addition of a new lighting system could bring new economic opportunities to Harlan County.
“They will have more access to flights coming in, not only private aircraft, but also military aircraft will be able to come in and buy fuel. That helps the airport board be viable and pay their monthly expenses and that sort of thing,” said Steely. “It also has a greater value. …If it gives industries and corporations the ability to do economic development then that will be worth many times more than what income they would have off fuel sells. It’s really about providing access to the community.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com