HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Big improvements are on the way to Stennis International Airport because of various funds being awarded through grants.
Chances are, expansion will be on the to do list at Stennis International Airport for a long time. There's a lot of room to grow and a pretty big need for it, according to Bill Cork, CEO of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission.
Cork says the airport is leased at 100 percent capacity, and any opportunity at funding is a good thing. That opportunity has presented itself through RESTORE Act funding and a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The most involved project being funded is a 24,640-square-foot hangar.
"That hangar will be about a $4 million project. $2 million of that will be coming from RESTORE and $2 million from local funds," said Cork.
It will be built on the south side of the terminal and will essentially be a mirror copy of the hangar that already exists on the north side. Right now, the hangars are leased by 30 tenants, and there's already interest from others.
"This is just an ongoing investment in our master plan for the airport, which we hope will bring dozens of new jobs, lots of new capital investment from companies, as well as new tax base," Cork said.
Another project being funded is an overlaying of the runway. That's an almost $5 million project being mostly funded by a grant from the FAA. Cork says it will take about two months to complete.
"The hangar project will take a little bit longer. We hope to have the project under construction later this fall or early 2018," said Cork.
There's also construction currently underway to expand the airport's fuel storage area. All of these projects represent progress that Cork believes is evidence of South Mississippi's resilience more than a decade after devastation.
"The coast is coming back from Katrina. We're coming back strong and roaring," Cork said.
Even more projects are being planned for the Hancock County Port from the funding. Overall, the port and harbor commission is seeing almost $60 million in improvements.