May 16, 2012 Edition

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Improvements made
to airport fuel farm

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Manager Michelle Anthony was praised by Airport Commission Chairman Dan Coker at the commissioner's meeting on Monday night for her efforts in getting the fuel farm up to standards for military inspectors.

"We didn't rate very well on our fuel farm when military inspectors were here a while back," Coker said. "Anthony has spent the last few months streamlining the operations to ensure we can sell fuel to military aircraft when they land here."

A customer service committee was formed at last month's meeting with the goal of discovering ways to ensure those who fly into the airport enjoy the visit and want to return.

The purchase of a popcorn machine and a television somewhere around the 42-inch range was discussed and agreed upon. These will be placed in the lobby of the terminal so guests can snack and catch up on the news and weather while they are at the airport.

The committee is also working on goodie bags that will include, among other items, a brochure listing restaurants in the area, as well as nearby hotels and places to visit.

Commissioners voted to build or purchase a small building for Anthony to keep fuel farm testing equipment and records in. Prices and options will be brought to next month's meeting.

They also voted to pay $500 for a courtesy van they received through the surplus program recently.

"They mistakenly gave the 93 Dodge Caravan minivan to us when it was supposed to go to someone else," Anthony said. "Now, we have to take it back or pay $500 to keep it." Ordinarily, there would have been no charge for the vehicle through this program.

Commissioners voted to pay the fee and keep the van.

In other business the commission:

  • discussed the possibility of holding a fly-in this fall with a C-130 aircraft to be on display in order to create more awareness and interest in the airport.

  • heard from Coker that he would like to see them apply for a 50-50 grant when grant money becomes available to build a hangar that can house larger jets as more jets are arriving frequently, due in part to peanut industries planning to locate in the area, as well as other business and industry leaders who visit the area.

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