TUPELO – City officials believe they’ve found a solution to fix a portion of the old runway at the Tupelo Regional Airport – and it is also a less expensive alternative.
The city is prepared to allot up to $150,000 to fix the taxiway used by Universal Asset Management, the Memphis-based company that disassembles and recycles aircraft at a leased space at the airport.
Estimates for the repair ranged from $700,000 to $1.2 million.
“We believe this is an adequate solution to ensure that we do not breach the lease agreement with UAM,” said city spokeswoman Sarah Robinson.
The solution, apparently, was prompted by Mayor Jason Shelton.
“I inspected the damaged taxiway and at my request, the city’s chief operating officer, Darrell Smith, took two engineering firms to also examine the taxiway to see what our options might be,” he said. “We were able to come up with a plan we believe will repair the taxiway for approximately $1 million less that what was otherwise discussed.”
UAM has said the airport and city need a permanent fix for the crumbling portion of the runway so that it can continue to bring in aircraft like the Boeing 747. The company employs about 80 people in Tupelo.
The Tupelo Regional Airport Authority on Wednesday approved a motion declaring that portion was in need of immediate repair, and approved a second motion to ask the city to pay for those repairs.
The authority is expected to make its formal request today before the City Council.