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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Newport City Council visits new airport terminal

  • The Newport City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting Monday night at the newly built Airport Terminal.
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  • The council had no business to address and instead heard a brief report, from Airport Manager Jim Martin, on the new facility.
    "We were real fortunate to be able to get the money to build this facility," said Martin.
    According to Martin in 2006 the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics, after an economic impact study, insisted that Airport terminals in the area should have at least 5,000 square feet of floor space.
    "Our old terminal is barely 1,000, 1200 square feet, so basically they set themselves up by putting that out," explained Martin.
    Shortly after, "around 2009," there was a tornado in North Little Rock and the state stepped in and helped them build a new terminal.
    Seeing the help given to North Little Rock coupled with the fact that the Newport Terminal was too small by state standards, the Newport Airport Commission applied and received funding to help build the current terminal.
    According to Martin the commission set a budget at $500,000 and were able to secure a bid for approximately $380,000 putting them well under budget for the building of the facility.
    "We were able to structure our trust money where we could use it to pay our 20 percent, for our eight to 20 matching fund," explained Martin.
    The commission was able to furnish the facility with the help of several economic development associations in town and stressed that they bought everything they could in town in order to put money back into the community.
    "We have gotten a nice airport and I think very economical," said Martin.
    According to Airport Commissioner Jim McLarty the runway at the terminal "is in the best condition it has been in since probably when it was built".
    "One great thing that is out there right now is an instrument of approach," said McLarty. "If you have the training and the experience and your airplane has the radio, you can descend blind, to land on that runway, down to 250 feet above the ground."
    McLarty explains that the runway is safe at 5000 feet long and 150 feet wide, good lights at night, and a good low approach which is something Newport has lacked over the years.
    "We have all the ingredients now with this jewel right here, that hopefully we can put together a plan that is going to get us an industry which has the need to base an airplane here," said McLarty.
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