Navy plans up to $2M on airport improvement

Published 9:06 am Friday, November 12, 2010

FRANKLIN—The Navy plans to invest between $1.5 and $2 million to improve Franklin Municipal Airport if it is used for field carrier landing practice, according to Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Airport improvements would include electrical upgrades for additional runway and airfield lighting, concrete pads to support visual landing aids and workstations for landing signal officers, Harvey writes in a guest column on page A2 in today’s edition of The Tidewater News.

“I’m glad to see him put the article in the paper, but we don’t know any details ourselves,” Mayor Jim Councill said Thursday.

According to Harvey, services the Navy plans to negotiate with the city for include firefighting, runway maintenance, equipment storage, aircraft support equipment and aircraft and vehicle parking.

“This contract can help Franklin defray the cost it incurs to operate the airport,” Harvey wrote.
All of the specific economic investments in the region, however, are still “yet to be developed,” Harvey wrote.

“However, I can say that this action will provide positive net benefits to the airport, which is an important regional asset owned by the city of Franklin and located within Isle of Wight County,” he wrote.

Councill said contract negotiations with the Navy have not started.

“They’re still putting together a list of the things they’re going to need to have provided and we have no idea what that list is,” he said. “We know what a few things are on the list, but we don’t know what the inclusive list is going to be and may not know until January.”

Concerns about noise, safety and economic impacts will be addressed in the Navy’s required environmental assessment.

“We’re looking at the feasibility of it. Does it make sense to happen?” Councill said. “We want to take into account the environmental impact because the Navy has to do that, as well as what the impact is to our neighbors.”

The Navy in October announced its intention to negotiate with the city to use the airport for field carrier landing practice for C-2 Greyhound and E-2 Hawkeye aircraft stationed in Norfolk.

Councill said additional flight demonstrations would take place before the end of the year and dates would be released as soon as possible.