Berea Mayor Steven Connelly spoke to the Madison Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday morning about the Madison Airport Board’s desire to expand its facilities.
At its most recent meeting, Connelly said the airport board discussed Eastern Kentucky University’s need for enlarged facilities so it could expand the school’s aviation program which uses the airport for flight training. The university also is the airport’s fixed-base operator.
According to Connelly, the airport would need additional hangar space and a new terminal to facilitate EKU’s plans. But such upgrades are low on the list of priorities for the Federal Aviation Administration, and the airport would be unlikely to acquire sufficient federal money for expansion.
(Richmond) Mayor (Jim) Barnes and I talked about the possibility of working with the airport, and maybe there would be a joint-government ability to get sufficient bonding, which the governments would see as part of their contribution, and paying off those construction costs,” Connelly said.
Connelly said the three governments helping pay for the expansion, currently estimated to cost between $1.2 and $2 million, would promote economic development and help generate local tax revenue to cover the investment cost.
EKU has 140 students enrolled in the aviation program, but Connelly said the airport board was told that number could easily climb to 200 if the expansion was completed.
In other business, the court:
• Approved the hiring of Kelly Taylor by the home incarceration program. Taylor, a Berea native with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from EKU, is finishing a master’s degree in the same field.
• Approved the hiring of Herb Lovett by the county fire department. Lovett has experience with the Waco Volunteer Fire Department.
• Approved the hiring of Cindy Madden as an assistant communications officer for the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. Madden previously worked for Baptist Health in information technology.
The next fiscal court meeting will be 9:30 a.m. Aug. 28 at the county courthouse, 101 W. Main St., Richmond.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org@richmondregister.com or at 624-6623.