FOLEY – A $1.2-million project will improve the taxiway and add more needed hangar space at the Foley Municipal Airport.

The Foley City Council voted to approve the bid of S.C. Stagner Contracting to build the taxi lane and an eight-unit T-hangar at the airport. The company’s bid was almost $1.2 million. 

The council also voted to accept $531,000 in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and Alabama Department of Transportation to pay some of the cost of the project. The remaining costs will be paid out over the next three years and additional funding from the FAA and ALDOT will also help pay much of those costs.

The Foley Airport has about 100 applicants on a waiting list for hangar space. Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the city is working to provide more space. He said the city is also applying for additional funding to expand facilities.

“It’s not to create some giant terminal for commercial traffic,” Hellmich said. “It’s basically to update and modernize our facilities, because they’re out of date.”

He said Foley is not the only local airport needing more hangar space

” I think all the airports in Baldwin County have a waiting list from what I understand,” Hellmich said.

Councilman Rick Blackwell said he has noticed an increasing number of aircraft parked at the airport .

“It gets more and more,” Blackwell said. “I drove by there yesterday, There’s more airplanes than I’ve ever seen at the airport.”

During the July 17 council meeting, several residents expressed concern about growth and noise issues at the airport.

One resident said some trees that had created a buffer at the edge of the airport had been cut down.

City officials said all of the vegetation cleared in the area was on private property outside the airport. They said FAA regulations would not allow trees to be planted on airport property near the runway, but the city could look into planting shrubbery and building board fences between the airport and nearby homes to create a buffer.