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Commissioners receive airport update

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SMITHFIELD — Johnston County commissioners received an update on progress at the Johnston County Regional Airport.

Airport Authority Chairman Ken Starling and Airport Director Phil Lanier addressed commissioners at their April 1 meeting.

“We’ve recently received several grants, total of $8 million, from state and federal sources,” sand Starling. “The grant sources are asking us for $800,000 to match.”

“We have a master plan for the airport,” said Lanier. “We’ve (got) a drainage project, built one corporate hangar, just been awarded a contract for two additional hangars and Blue Line Aviation is building a 25,000 square-foot, three-story facility which should be finished by February 2020.”

Commissioner Patrick Harris said Johnston County is fortunate to have a state-of-the-art airport.

“ A recent impact study showed the Johnston County Airport helped create 820 jobs in 2018 and had a $119 million impact on the county. We feel that’s pretty significant,” said Lanier. “The airport also generated $39.9 million in taxes. “

The airport hosted a master plan open house on Monday.

According to the airport’s website, the airport master plan update “is a federally funded project that will provide the airport with a blueprint for long-term development.”

“The plan’s purpose,” the website states, “is to provide the guidance necessary to maintain a safe and efficient airport and accommodate anticipated growth.”

“We’re trying to develop a community airport,” said Lanier. “We want the public to see what’s happening here.”

The airport’s financial reserves were down 15 percent. One unexpected expense was the purchase of a new $100,000 fuel truck, said Lanier.