POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - A major project worth over $700,000 is in its final stages in Pocahontas.
Officials said Tuesday they hope the re-construction of the Pocahontas Municipal Airport brings an economic boom to the county.
“It’s about time,” Danny Ellis, Chairman of the Pocahontas Airport Commission, said. “We’ve had three floods from the Black River floods of 2008, 2014, 2017, that’s what caused the problem with the previous terminal, and we finally got some funds to be able to fix that problem and get this thing going.”
Black mold in the terminal forced Ellis and Airport Manager Randy Gilless to operate out of a trailer a few years ago.
After floods caused damage to the terminal, the airport secured grant money worth around $475,000. That money is being used to build a new terminal along with a separate hangar to store a survival helicopter.
The airport before this project was a structure that contained the hangar, the fire department, and the airport terminal.
That building is now being phased out to create more landing room for airplanes.
The fire department has relocated to an adjacent building off of US-67.
“Once you see the city making an investment of this nature, that town sees an economic boom, an economic growth,” Gilless said.
“Someone once said that that asphalt on the runway is the most important 4,000 feet of asphalt in the county,” Ellis added. “You drive 4,000 feet down a highway, it’s doing to take you down the highway, but you take 4,000 feet down the runway, it can take you to the world.”
Both Ellis and Gilless said they’ve worked in a trailer for the better part of a year, and they’re excited to get moved into the new buildings and see the impact it will make on the city.