Fuel farm: $500,000 grant to help airpark seek contracts

A half-million-dollar grant could have McMahon-Wrinkle Airpark closer to playing with the big boys, and have a direct impact on Big Spring and the Crossroads area.Airpark Manager Jim Little confirmed that the Texas Transportation Division has awarded a $500,000 grant to construct a fuel farm at the airpark.“We have fuel tanks servicing the airpark that are well over 30 years old. We will replace them with tanks that will be updated to modern specifications,” said Little. “Currently, we do some work with the military, but this will allow us to pursue contracts, including military contracts.”The fuel farm will consist of a pad and two large tanks to accommodate general aviation fuel and jet fuel.It's another step in the right direction for Big Spring, Little believes.“We've increased the size of runway and have a really nice terminal now. Everybody likes this terminal. The more that we can provide, the better off we will be and Big Spring will be,” he said.“The fuel farm will be a definite plus; a lot of people don't realize how much business the airport handles, We have a lot of medivac traffic and the airport does a sizable business with corporate planes,” Little added, including transportation necessitated by both the wind energy industry and the oil industry.Also in the works, is improvement of the airport apron on the runway side of the terminal. It is showing some age, and beginning to crack in areas. The improvements will also allow the airport to accommodate larger planes.Project costs are funded through the Texas Department of Transportations Aviation Facilities Grant Program. The funds come from a matching grant,ranging from 90/10 to 72/25, with TxDOT paying the lion's share.“We're delighted with the support we are getting from Austin, TxDOT aviation and the local economic development corporation,” said Little. “We hope this will open the door for multiple opportunities for us.”