09/06/07 — Mount Olive airport expansion proceeding

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Mount Olive airport expansion proceeding

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 6, 2007 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The town of Mount Olive is in the process of aquiring land to allow it to expand its airport.

Plans to extend the airport runways by 5,000 feet to accommodate larger private corporate jets have been on the drawing board for several years.

The aquisition of the two parcels needed to extend the runway has run into a snag -- one of the landowners has died -- but Town Manager Charles Brown said town officials will continue to pursue the project.

"That has slowed things down a bit," said Brown, but added that he is confident that the process will pick up again soon.

The longer runway also will eventually bring about the need for a bigger terminal, but that construction is not expected to happen any time soon, town officials say.

"It is in the 20-year, long-range master plan," Brown said.

The current runway is 3,697 feet. It cost more than $500,000 to build. The project of extending the runway by 1,300 feet started in 2004 with another $450,000.

The Mount Olive Municipal Airport is jointly owned by the town and Wayne County, and the current operating budget for the airport is over $100,000 annually. The county contributes over $27,000, while the town contributed $23,000 from their general fund and over $16,000 in matching grant funds.

The airport does it's fair share to support the town, contributing close to $4 million worth of economic impact every year, according to a study completed by the N.C. Division of Aviation. The airport provides the county with about $11,000 of revenue and has approximately 5,000 visitors a year.