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Clarksville airport gets $872,000 for rehab project

SoVaNow.com / March 31, 2021




The Virginia Aviation Board this week announced awards of $6.54 million to support 40 projects at 27 airports across Virginia.

Among the grant recipients is the Lake Country Regional Airport in Clarksville, which will receive $872,000 to support its runway rehabilitation project, according to a VAB statement issued on Thursday.

It was one of the largest awards made by the six-person board in its latest round of funding.

“This is a big deal and a monumental task. But we are getting a first-class airport,” said Mike Denton, commission chair and manager of the Lake Country Regional Airport.

The Lake Country Regional Airport was the only facility in Region 6 awarded funds from the Virginia Aviation Board in this round. Other airports in the region are Chase City Municipal Airport, Emporia-Greenville Regional Airport, Franklin Municipal Airport, Lawrenceville-Brunswick Municipal Airport, Lunenburg County Airport, Mecklenburg-Brunswick Regional Airport and Wakefield Municipal Airport.

The money will be used for the third phase in a series of projects to upgrade and improve safety at Clarksville’s regional airport.

Phase I and II were competed in 2019. The airport paid $1.4 million to shorten the existing runway by 500 feet and rebuild the remaining runway.

Phase III will involve moving excess dirt from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land at the end of the runway at the airport on Highway 15-S and placing it along the sides of the runway to create a buffer zone.

Denton said the fill dirt will create “gentle slopes” next to the runway instead of the “cliffs” that now exist. If a pilot happens to run off the airstrip, the new buffer zone will make it easier for the pilot to glide the plane to a stop.

He estimated the cost of the work, which will be done in two phases, at around $1.1-$1.2 million for each phase.

Work is expected to begin late spring or early summer. First, Denton said he must get a sign-off from the three political entities that support the airport, the towns of Boydton and Clarksville and Mecklenburg County. Based on past support, he’s optimistic of getting the go-ahead with this project, as well.

Over the past several years, the Lake Country Airport Commission has brought in over $4 million in development funding for airport improvements, Denton said. Other projects undertaken involved removing trees from the west side of the runway, installing new fencing, and adding a weather station that provides pilots with site-specific weather readings.

In this most recent round of funding, Denton was successful in obtaining 80 percent of the funding for the project, $872,000 from the State of Virginia through the Department of Transportation, the umbrella agency over the aviation board.

“Public-use airports in Virginia are vital to the success of any region’s economic development efforts,” said Rod Hall, chairman of the Virginia Aviation Board. “Our investment in these 27 airports will only help the communities they serve.”

The airport receiving the most funding in this award cycle is Danville Regional Airport, which was awarded more than $1.1 million for taxiway and hangar site development projects. Other large projects include more than $1 million to support runway, taxiway and apron rehabilitation projects at Gordonsville Municipal Airport, $480,000 for runway rehabilitation at Lonesome Pine Airport, and $464,000 for runway extension at Stafford Regional Airport.

Mark Flynn, director of the Virginia Department of Aviation, said, “We had a terrific mix of small, medium and large improvement projects that went before the Board of Aviation. And the $6.54 million the Board approved is one of the largest awards ever to support general aviation regional, community and local service airports in Virginia.”

Aviation is a $23 billion economic engine that employs more than 146,000 people and pays more than $7.7 billion in wages across the 66 public-use airports in Virginia.

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