According to Gary Harris, chairman of the Sharp County Regional Airport Commission, the $3.5 million will be building much more than a runway.
"The majority of the materials will come from local businesses. There will be contractors who will be eating at local restaurants, staying in local hotels ... and most importantly it will increase the capacity of the airport," Harris explained.
Currently, there are 17 or 18 based aircraft that call the Sharp County Airport "home," according to Harris, and with the addition to the taxi-way, more planes will be finding Sharp County a more pleasing place to park their aircrafts.
"People who fly for business will look at the airport in Sharp County," Harris said.
As of now, the airport has a single taxi-way with no separate runways for planes flying in and flying out. Because this does not meet current safety standards, some airplanes are not insured to land or taxi at the Sharp County Airport. The insurance provider of many aircrafts will not cover a piece of machinery at an airport with insufficient standards, said Harris. With the new taxi-way, those who feared the Sharp County Airport before can now embrace its up-to-date standards of safety.
The taxi-way will also allow the airport to retain its Class 3 status by being in accordance with Arkansas standards. According to the standards, the taxi-way must be at least 5,000 feet long and 70 feet wide, which the new design will accomplish.
The airport recently completed a 10-hanger structure bringing the airport's holding capacity to 14 aircrafts. In the future, Harris said they plan to be capable of holding up to 34 aircrafts.
"The first impression people and businesses will get will be of this airport. Sharp County has land and the capability of business growth," Harris said. "This area is open for development."
The Sharp County Airport Authority said they will be receiving almost $97,000 of that $3.5 million from a grant awarded to them by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"We're hoping that once we get to a certain point, the (Federal Aviation) will take over," Harris said.
Harris explained that 90 percent of the money will be coming from the Federal Aviation Funds generated from airplane fuel taxes and the remaining 10 percent will be coming from the Arkansas Aviation Funds.
A meeting between the SCRAA and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission will be held Aug. 1 to discuss possibilities for economic growth the taxi-way will bring to Sharp County.
"We've got the runways, now what can we do with them?" Harris said concerning the topic of the meeting.