Airport facelift preparing for lift off

A section of County Line Road in Greenwood is getting a facelift to the tune of nearly $500,000, with the goal of blending in with surrounding office buildings and becoming a better entrance into the city.

The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission approved spending $650,000 on projects at the city airport, with the most money being spent on the work along County Line Road for new landscaping, a decorative fence and sign and demolishing some of the most rundown hangars.

Improving that area is important, since it is a gateway into the city. And the work will improve the image of the airport, which has been becoming more and more busy in recent years, board president Mike Tapp said.

“It’s not just a little podunk airfield anymore and we want it to appear that way,” Tapp said.

About $100,000 of the money also will pay for new water and sewer lines, which are needed before other hangars or buildings can be added, and about $59,000 will go to a required 5 percent match for rehabilitating the airport taxiway. The rest of the $1.2 million taxiway project is being paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The work along County Line Road is the most exciting, and is absolutely necessary, Tapp said.

New fencing and landscaping and getting rid of older buildings will improve the curb appeal of the airport, he said.

The city airport is becoming a regional airport, with continually increasing landings, maintenance and fuel sales. Improving the airport will help promote economic development, which will help improve the community, he said.

The three projects are the second phase in a list of improvements the airport wants to make in the coming years, Tapp said.

Last year, members of the city’s airport board presented a five-year plan outlining $29 million in projects, with an initial request to use $7.4 million in tax-increment financing, or TIF, district funds for the first phase of work. The mayor asked them to scale back, and they came up with 12 projects that would have a more immediate economic benefit to the city and would cost about $6 million to complete, and planned to come back and ask for funding.

Airport board members did a good job of breaking up their list and prioritizing projects, and now are coming back to ask for funding for specific needs, Tapp said.

Members of the redevelopment commission said it’s a shame the city hadn’t already done more with the airport, and want to invest in it now, Tapp said.

The projects would allow the airport to draw in new business. An example is remodeling the terminal building to include a conference room or private lounges to make the airport a more desirable destination for pilots or businessmen. Projects also could include opening a restroom that’s accessible 24 hours a day, upgrading the terminal security system, building a new 60-by-60-foot hangar for corporate jets, upgrade the existing T-hangars for local pilots and their smaller planes and purchasing a multiuse maintenance vehicle.

Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.