August 30, 2018 News

Aerospace Park gets $10.7 Million for Development

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — Tri-Cities Airport Authority approved a nearly $10.7 million contract with Summers-Taylor Inc. on Thursday to develop 73 acres of the airport’s Aerospace Park beginning this fall with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for Oct. 4.

The 160-acre park adjacent to the airport in Blountville will be a “build-ready” development designed to attract aviation-related industries and high-paying jobs. Construction is slated for completion by the end of 2020.

More than $13.4 million is on hand to develop the 73 acres. The majority of the money, $8.5 million, came from revenue bonds sold by Sullivan and Washington counties and the cities of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City. The rest is grant money from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Airport officials have already invested $23 million to install utilities, construct an access road and grade 21 acres of the site. Eleven acres of the site has been prepped using federal dollars as part of a Federal Aviation Administration project. Officials previously said it will cost about $17 million to prep the remaining 55 acres.

Preliminary site preparation, including site clearing and storm sewer infrastructure installation, will be done this fall until work is cut off for the winter, according to Tri-Cities Airport Director of Operations David Jones. Grading, clearing of vegetation, rock blasting and excavation will begin in April, he said.

“This project not only advances the airport’s development and makes a real contribution to regional economic development, but it is an important example of regional cooperation,” said Airport Authority Chairman Jon Smith.

Jones told the Airport Authority that $1.47 million of the money for the development of the park will be saved to fund matches for grants applied for in the next year. If no grants are received, the money will be used on the project, he said. Around $1 million in addition to the $10.7 million will be spent on administrative, engineering and consulting fees.

Paving and installation of utility infrastructure on the 73 acres isn’t included in the contract that was approved Thursday, but Jones said he and airport officials plan to bid that phase out and have it completed by the end of 2020.

Article courtesy of Lurah Spell, Bristol Herald Courier. Click to view on Bristol Herald Courier.