Tuscaloosa hosts airport open house

Tuscaloosa National Airport

Tuscaloosa city officials spent Monday evening updating the community on its master plan for the Tuscaloosa National Airport.

The plan is a 20-year comprehensive vision for the airport to meet future demands.

“We want to provide safe, secure facilities,” said Airport Manager Jeff Powell. “The stuff that really makes a difference for the local citizens that ultimately provides a higher quality of life.”

The community could take part in an open house Monday, offering their feedback to city officials so the airport will meet the needs of the community.

“They are excited,” Powell said. “They know stuff is going on throughout the community. They finally recognize that the airport is a key part of that. When we talk about what is already going on at this airport, we have received a lot of great information at our open house today showing what we have been doing the past 10, 20 years. We have put so much investment to maintain and grow the facility we have here, so it’s a great story to tell of what we’ve been doing, but we are also looking forward to saying how we’re going to be part of the future.”

Northport Mayor Bobby Herdon said bringing a commercial carrier to the Tuscaloosa National Airport would make a huge impact.

“We are looking at some hotels out here close to the airport,” Herdon said. “Hotels, restaurants and some entertainment centers. The people who even come to land for just a little while can run five minutes from here and have a hotel room and can eat. Or, if they need to come back and get on the plane. The economic impact, not just for Northport, but for Tuscaloosa, I think would increase greatly.”

Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen said the airport master plan study is vital for the future of Tuscaloosa.

“I do think it is going to take some effort on the part of our state,” Allen said. “At the same time, for our local communities to rally behind and wrap their arms around this project because the result is to attract new industry to come to Alabama and West Alabama. I just think it is very vital.”

The Tuscaloosa National Airport will be back in full operations in three weeks.

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