RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – An airport in Madison County hopes to get a much-needed upgrade to its infrastructure from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The one million dollar funding to the City of Berea would include extending wastewater collection to The Central Kentucky Regional Airport, which, at its current state, cannot handle the projected amount of growth the airport is expected to experience.
The airport, just nine miles outside of Richmond, is crucial to educating future aviators and boosting the economy in the area.
The airport is home to Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Aviation, and will soon also be home to EKU’s new School of Aviation Mechanics.
“This is really building toward the future. We’re right at 300 flight students here at this program at this airport. In order for us to grow and to continue to grow and meet the need and demand for aviators, across not only the U.S. but really the world, we really needed these infrastructure investments to go to the next level,” said Eastern Kentucky University President Dr. David McFaddin.
According to Dr. McFaddin, aviation is a crucial part of Kentucky’s economy, and will only continue to grow in its importance.
“This is a big part of our economy here in Kentucky. As we look at the grain of the cockpit, as we look at the FAA and the research we’re doing, we’re going to need nearly half a million pilots over the next decade. Schools like EKU are going to be a big part of how we meet that demand,” said McFaddin.
With the groundbreaking of Buc-ee’s in Richmond in April, the potential infrastructure updates could be a way to continue to boost the economy in Madison County and the surrounding area.
“I believe that upgrades to this airport are going to help this area explode economically. We’ve already seen the announcement of hundreds of jobs with Bucee’s and the CEO flew in to this airport to ensure that no one has to land somewhere else and drive over just puts this front and center–the company can be as big as as anyone in the world and be able to get right here at anytime,” said Governor Beshear.
If the project is approved, the updates would improve fire protection at the airport, a concern as the airport continues to grow.