The Madisonville City Council gave its blessing to airport improvements at a special meeting on Monday.
City Manager Camilla Viator updated the council on plans to expand airport services, which include offering round-the-clock fueling and a terminal.
“This will make it a more viable airport,” Viator said. “It will help drive economic development because it’s another access to our community.”
Viator said the city is fortunate that a skydiving business has expressed interest in basing at the Madisonville airport once renovations are finished.
“This is an opportunity to recoup some of the expenses (of renovation) and provide another revenue stream for the city,” she said.
Matt Newton, chair of the Economic Development Corp., said it was disappointing that the skydiving group did not want to contribute much to the project, but things would move ahead regardless.
“This is good for the city, so we need to do it, period,” Newton said.
Development at the airport will also open avenues for additional grant funds, Viator said.
Dave Ward, former member of the EDC, asked if there was to be a security system, and suggested that it would be a good idea to protect the area from vandals.
He also suggested police patrols once the terminal building was finished.
It will cost about $23,865 to do improvements, Viator said.
She also said that the city would waive the land lease for the skydiving company, provided that the company would be on call to provide fuel for planes around the clock.
At a later date, the city would install card swipe technology for pilots purchasing fuel, but she felt the city should wait because it would cost an additional $17,000, she said.
The council gave its permission to move forward with the improvements, including the credit card installation.
In the only other matter discussed at the special meeting, the city intends to hold the Wallace Group engineers responsible for problems regarding the South Street water line replacement.
The conflict is over inadequate maps showing shutoff valves that do not exist, and which will require the city to install before the new line can be tied into the existing city water system.
The city plans to require the engineering company to install the shutoff valves or face legal action.