The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Stafford airport terminal closer
BY KATIE THISDELL
The double-wide trailer that serves as Stafford Regional Airport’s terminal is not the first and last image that most local officials and airport representatives want visitors and business officials to see when they fly in and out of the county.
In less than one year, though, Stafford Regional Airport Authority Chairman Hank Scharpenberg will be proud to put the focus on a new $3.4 million terminal building.
“This is a no-brainer,” said Scharpenberg at a groundbreaking for the new terminal Tuesday. “Do I want to come here, or do I want to go there?” he said, referring to the trailer that guests were standing in, compared with renderings of the 10,000-square-foot facility.
Work should begin within a week. The building will include a passenger lounge, business center, conference room, flight planning and pilots area, administrative offices, vending machines and restrooms.
Airport officials hope businesses will be more likely to use the Stafford airport for work-related travel, rather than those in metropolitan Washington.
“If I could fly someplace, jump in a car and be there in 10 minutes, I’d absolutely do it,” Scharpenberg said.
Randy Burdette, director of the Virginia Department of Aviation, said the terminal will help with that perception issue.
“You can imagine going into a trailer gives one impression,” said Burdette, a Stafford resident. But an attractive facility will show businesses the importance of investing in the community, Burdette said.
Money for the project comes from about $2 million in grants from the Virginia Department of Aviation and a $1.4 million loan from Stafford County. The loan will be repaid with revenues from fuel sales and commercial tenants at the airport.
The airport is also improving its glide slope, which will allow pilots to land in all types of weather. Trees are being cut down at the end of the runway.
A runway expansion is also planned, and could be complete by 2015.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975