Federal grant will aid construction of fuel farm at Ripley airport

RIPLEY – Johnson-McGill Airport in Ripley will receive a U. S. Department of Transportation grant of $130,721 to start construction of a fuel farm which will be owned by the airport, Airport Board Chairman Johnny Coombs said Thursday. The airport expects to receive another DOT grant of about the same amount in several months to complete the project. Neither grant requires any matching funds; “these grants won’t cost the city or county a penny,” he said. “There’s a system similar to the fuel farm at the airport now, but it’s privately owned. With the completion of this project, anyone going across the country will be able to land, fill up with gas and swipe a credit card,” Coombs said. He said the airport also features a recently-extended 4,400 ft. runway that allows small corporate jets to land. A recent grant for construction of six hangers has also paid off; all six are currently rented. He said the airport is also seeking a grant for construction of a taxiway. “We hope these improvements will increase traffic flow into Ripley and Tippah County. It’s an industrial asset to the city and the county to have a good airport. Big companies nearly all have aircraft, and our goal is to have a first-class airport so anyone coming here won’t have to land in Tupelo or Corinth,” Coombs said. A number of airports will receive about $4.5 million from the U. S. Department of Transportation, including nine in northeast Mississippi, according to information from U. S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both Republicans. Along with Ripley, the other airports in this area which will receive grant funds include Calhoun County Airport, Roscoe Turner Airport which serves Corinth and Alcorn County, Columbus-Lowndes County Airport, Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Monroe County Airport, Okolona Municipal Airport, Tishomingo Airport, and Tupelo Airport Authority. Said Sen. Cochran: “Infrastructure improvements to our state’s airports will provide needed enhancements to their operations, help stimulate the local economy through construction, and will hopefully spur greater incentives for tourism.” Added Wicker: In addition to increasing efficiency, safety and security at our airports, these infrastructure projects will provide an economic boost in communities across the state.”

Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel