by Jason Youngblood
When it comes to the amount of money being pumped into our local economy by the Angelina County Airport, things are looking up. Continued improvements over the years have established the airfield as a gateway to opportunity.
It's business as usual at the Angelina County Airport this holiday season, and from the looks of things, business is good.
Airport Manager Randy Carswell says, "New business on the field, payroll on the field, and then all of that money goes into the local economy and has a multiplier effect."
So much so, in fact, that a 2001 study found that the airport contributed four million dollars to Angelina County's economy. That number has now grown to over 37 million and counting.
"The county has always been very good about contributing to the airport the funds that are needed to match state and federal funds to do improvements at the airport," says Carswell.
Outgoing Angelina County Judge Joe Berry says these improvements include things like "overlaying, re-striping it, painting it, and doing some intersection work, which includes some concrete paving."
Those are the kinds of airport improvements county commissioners approved funding for Wednesday morning. That money is matched through grant funding from the Texas Department of Transportation's Aviation Division. Additional money from private sources keeps the airport looking top notch in a competitive business climate.
"Especially, people that come here maybe to relocate a business here or start a business here, this is their first impression of Lufkin," Carswell adds.
Judge Berry has high hopes for the airport's future. "Now, what we look forward to is jets landing out there and people coming off with briefcases and those briefcases contain contracts and benefit the economy of Angelina County."
Randy Carswell concluded, "That's very meaningful to us to have a quality airport, and for a county our size in our region and all, we have a good airport, a real good airport."
And if this economic trend continues, then the sky's the limit. Future projects for the airport include extending runways and building more hangars to accommodate the economic surge and improve on that first impression.