Runway Closure An Improvement?

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Officials in Hickory, N.C., say one way to improve the Hickory Airport would be to close a 4,400-foot runway. The runway, which sees only 6 percent of the airport’s traffic, will need a $2.3 million paving job in a few years and that got the creative thinkers at city hall pondering its fate. Tearing up the asphalt and relying entirely on the 6,400-foot main runway would pave the way for more hangars and commercial development, they reason. “This is an opportunity to have more planes and more activity at the airport that will make it more self-sufficient in the long term,” Assistant City Manager Tom Carr told the Hickory Record. Interim Airport Manager Terry Clark said there’s little room for expansion at the airport and the only developable areas would need about $1 million in site preparation. He noted that neighboring airports in Burlington and Statesville closed secondary runways for development, and those projects were considered successful. “We need to do something for the present and the future, so when a company comes and needs a hangar, we could meet that,” Clark said. “It opens us up for future growth here.” City officials will be talking to the FAA about the proposal.