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County receives $500k state grant for airport terminal

The Laurens County Council unanimously approved an influx of state funding at its Monday meeting that is among the steps to get construction started on a new terminal for the Laurens County Airport.

Council members unanimously approved acceptance of a $500,000 grant from the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission that will help fund the project, which is estimated to cost about $2.6 million – a far cry from initial estimates of $1.3 million in 2019.

The new airport terminal was among 16 Capital Project Sales Tax initiatives approved by county voters by referendum during the 2020 General Election. The County Airport Commission asked for $500,000 from the CPST to help fund construction of a new 3,000-square-foot terminal to replace the current 1,800-square-foot terminal built in 1981.

“Everybody is anxious to get the project started,” said Rick Snipes, chairman of the county airport commission.

In addition to the $500,000 state aeronautics commission grant, the project is being funded by $1.344 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants and $761,373 from the county, including the money raised by the CPST.

The larger building will be designed to be more inviting to pilots and other guests. When seeking approval for CPST funds, airport commission members said the facility upgrade would put the Laurens airport on more equal footing with other small airports such as Greenwood, Anderson and Spartanburg.

Snipes said the project will soon be opened for bidding for a second time after earlier bids were deemed unacceptable.

“Any time that we have these opportunities to get grant funding at the state and federal level, it helps the taxpayers of Laurens County,” said County Council Chairman Brown Patterson.

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