Upgrades to Morristown Regional Airport completed

Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm

From left, councilmember Bob Garrett, assistant city administrator Buddy Fielder, councilmember Gary Chesney, councilmember Kay Senter, Morristown Air Service owner Ben Williamson, airport commission member Charlie Hurt, city administrator Tony Cox, airport commissioner Denise Terry, airport and county commissioner Louis  “Doe” Jarvis, Karen Hughes, AOPA volunteer; Jodi Barnard with the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce and councilmember Dennis Alvis.

From left, councilmember Bob Garrett, assistant city administrator Buddy Fielder, councilmember Gary Chesney, councilmember Kay Senter, Morristown Air Service owner Ben Williamson, airport commission member Charlie Hurt, city administrator Tony Cox, airport commissioner Denise Terry, airport and county commissioner Louis “Doe” Jarvis, Karen Hughes, AOPA volunteer; Jodi Barnard with the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce and councilmember Dennis Alvis.

A multi-tiered project that’s been two years in the making is complete at the Morristown Regional Airport.

The work will improve pilots’ ability to fuel and allow the city’s airport commission to move ahead and finalize the contract with its chosen fixed base operator.

Assistant City Administrator Buddy Fielder said the project is really three in one.

“It’s a small security project, an apron expansion and then the upgrade and replacement of the previous fuel farm,” he said. “The equipment that we had before was getting to where it was antiquated. The newest of the old tanks was over 20 years old. It was an underground storage tank and with underground storage tanks you have potential environmental issues and other types of regulations you have to deal with.”

Now systems, aviation gas and jet fuel, are above ground with double-walled tanks which are interstitially monitored, Fielder said.

“Then there’s equipment on the tanks which will help the FBO maintain the quality of the fuel as well, in an easier process than the tanks we had before,” he said.

The majority of the funding from the projects came from state and federal grants, Fielder said.

While the local match varied from grant to grant, the average local match was about 15 percent of total cost of the project, between $1.1 million and $1.2 million.

Fielder thanked the Tennessee Aeronautic Commission and its local member, Vice-chairman Larry Mullins for its support.

“Without their assistance and leadership, with regard to general aviation, airports in the state of Tennessee wouldn’t be able to do what we’re able to do,” Fielder said. “Certainly our local representative on that board, Larry Mullins, is instrumental in getting funding our airport.”

Fielder said the upgrades help the airport maintain its reputation as one of the best small airports in the state.

“When it comes to support of general aviation airports, Morristown does very well, in my opinion, in getting its funding and moving projects forward,” Fielder said. “Our city council, our airport commission, is very supportive of improvements at the airport. I see that continuing on from here.”

Recently, city council was told the contract with the commission’s chosen fixed-based operator couldn’t be finalized until the fuel farm work was completed. Presumably, that contract with Morristown Air Service.

The upgrades can be seen in operation on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as the Experimental Aircraft Association will host a fly-in.

There will be a pilot meet and greet, a flight simulator, children’s activities and bi-plane rides.

Cost of the bi-plane rides will be available at the fly-in while fuel will be available at FBO costs.

There will also be food vendors and $25 airplane rides.

-From Staff Reports

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