MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Airport Authority and Knox County Commissioners were awarded $150,000 in funds from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.
“It’s entitlement money, something we get every year,” said Marla Elliott, Knox County Airport director. “It’s a good thing that we get it, but, it’s not like we don’t expect it.”
The FFA program helps airports all over the United States with funding for construction projects as well as planning. The Knox County Airport receives the maximum allowed by the program, Elliott said.
“This money will be used for planning. This has to be updated every so often and includes information like ‘where are you now’ [as an airport] and ‘where do you plan to be in the future,’” she said.
Elliott said there are issues at the airport that need to be addressed, including moving the fuel tanks and rehabilitating and expanding the ramp. The ramp is the area that serves, much like a parking lot, for planes after they have landed.
Last year’s allotment of entitlement money was used strictly for construction.
“If you are working on construction projects, the money must be used for those projects,” Elliott said.
Elliott said the airport authority will work “hand-in-hand” with an engineering firm to develop acceptable options for the needs of the airport. Any money left from the $150,000 can be rolled over to 2010 for any purpose.
“Marla is very proactive to go after money for the airport,” said Knox County Commissioner Teresa Bemiller.
The airport, Bemiller said, is a huge asset to the county, even though it is not used by the county’s average citizens.
“What the general public doesn’t see is the number of businesses that utilize the airport. There are those with corporate jets that use the airport a lot. People are always coming and going for business meetings. The airport is of great value to the community,” Bemiller said.