Originally created 08/22/06

Panel to look at new air terminal



A new terminal might be in Daniel Field's future.

The possibility came up Monday at a meeting of Augusta's General Aviation Commission, but the problem might be funding.

Chairman David Fields told the committee that such planning is needed because the existing terminal is outdated and expensive to operate.

He also told commission members that it would be a bad time to ask the Augusta Commission for the money.

"We know what's going on downtown, and there is no way I'm going to recommend that we spend a bunch of money to build a new terminal or whatever right now," Mr. Fields said. "But I think it's something we need to look at."

The committee will examine alternative sources of funding for the building, including grants or some kind cooperation with Augusta Aviation, which leases the current building from the city.

The commissioners also expressed concerns that the current building could be turning away potential revenue for the city from investors and corporations that use Daniel Field.

"Every major corporation that brings jobs and makes jobs comes through this airport, and this is what they see," said Commissioner Locke McKnight, who will head the ad hoc committee. He said other cities such as Thomson and Aiken have taken time to improve their airports to attract investors.

"That's (what) we're missing, and it

s time Augusta starts realizing this," Mr. McKnight said.

Also at the meeting, Richard Isdell resigned from his position as the District 5 commissioner. He said that he will continue in his position on the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority. He said that he was leaving the General Aviation Commission in "good hands" and that the coliseum authority presented a "great challenge."

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com

WHAT'S NEXT:

The ad hoc committee will begin to examine the feasibility of constructing a new terminal and present an outline for funding and design at its next meeting in September.