It’s a long shot, but Rusk County Airport needs a longer runway, according to the Henderson Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) board in order to land larger companies here.
“The current runway is 4,000 feet and an additional 1,000 feet is needed in order for corporate company jets to fly in and out of,” said John Clary, executive president.
Just as a track and field athlete faces hurdles in the hurdling event there are many obstacles to overcome for this need of a runway extension to become a reality.
A few of the immediate obstacles this project faces are: HEDCO is a Type A economic development corporation, which means that they must focus mainly on industry and job creation. The Rusk County Airport is outside the city limits and economic development projects must be inside the city limits.
Clary says that most airport improvements are done on a 90/10 grant split with TXDOT Aviation and the FAA.
This particular runway project is estimated to cost about $7 million and airport manager Ron Franks has asked HEDCO to assist with some of the matching funds. Of course, the Commissioners Court would have to agree to this plan.
This would be a three-phase project with a preliminary study consisting of letters of commitment from about 500 users per year and would take about four to six years to complete.
Key questions that must be resolved, according to HEDCO attorney James Holmes, is whether or not it is legal and if the board is willing. Holmes shared with the board a few Attorney General opinions to help them make their decision.
After a brief discussion, and a motion by board member Joe Sorrells, and a second, the motion was passed to move forward with the possibility to pursue the project.