Farmville gets funding help with regional airport repairs

Published 12:08 am Monday, August 21, 2023

State and federal funds will help renovate the Farmville Regional Airport. A $69,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Aviation, combined with $774,000 from the federal government, will allow the town to reconstruct the airport’s taxiway. 

The federal dollars came as part of the 2023 Airport Improvement Program. And that money is locked in for use on the airport, specifically earmarked for the taxiway work. With money in hand, having accepted the funds, town officials say the actual repair work will begin soon. 

“The next step is to finalize with the contractor,” said Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis. “Work should begin in early fall.”

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The airport is located at 130 Wedgewood Drive, just five miles northwest of town. During its time in operation, the airport has housed July 4th fireworks and other public events, law enforcement training, agricultural spraying and search and rescue training operations. While it’s for private airplanes, it’s similar in many ways to the airports you’ll find in Charlottesville, Richmond and Roanoke, just a bit smaller.  

A possible sale

One concern for the town council and staff is that Farmville remains the main funding source for the airport, other than grant projects like those we just spotlighted. Yes, the airport received more than $2 million in state and federal grants so far this fiscal year, but those are one-time gifts, given for specific repair work and projects. A portion of that, for example, is designated to help pay for paving work up to where the hangers are. 

And while Farmville currently owns it, that may not be for much longer, at least not without a partner. As part of their strategic plan approved in the Wednesday, April 12 meeting, the town council authorized Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis to “contact the aeronautical programs at Liberty and Averett universities to determine if there is any interest in owning, managing or in some other way partnering with the Town on airport operations.”

The goal here is to at least look at partnering options, something that takes the airport away from being wholly funded and operated by Farmville.

Liberty and Averett have been used as examples because of their connections to the airport. Liberty University, for example, uses Farmville Regional Airport for their pilot training programs. As for Averett, students could work on airplanes at the Farmville facility. Conversations aren’t restricted to just those two, as the town is open to conversations with just about any group that’s interested. 

Davis said he hopes by the end of this year to have started conversations about a partnership or other proposals.