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County buys properties to extend airport safety zone

Posted: June 20, 2013 4:16 p.m.
Updated: June 21, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Kershaw County Airport buildings are seen in the distance through Gate 8 on Logan Road. Kershaw County has purchased several properties nearby to expand a runway safety zone. Those living in the purchased homes are being given time to move prior to demolition.

Kershaw County recently purchased several homes and the lots they sit on as part of an effort to expand the Kershaw County Airport’s safety zone at Woodward Field.

According to online records, Kershaw County has spent a total of $384,000 since May 16 to purchase five lots with homes on them and one unimproved lot on Logan Road, Maggie Avenue and U.S. 1. The properties are located near the airport’s southeastern corner.

Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter said the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded a series of grants to the county for this purpose. Carpenter said the FAA identified the area surrounding a nearby runway as being “too close” in terms of safety. He said surveys and an appraisal of the area has already been completed, and that the project has been in the works for several years. The recent land purchases are part of the process, Carpenter said.

Kershaw County Airport Commissioner Loren Webb said the decisions regarding the airport were handled by the county.

Carpenter said the expansion will result in a “greater safety zone” so that the airport will meet FAA standards. He said the homes’ occupants are being given time to vacate the properties and that the homes will be demolished at some point.

According to a 2006 study by the FAA, more than half of airports in the United States have at least one runway lacking a 1,000-foot safety zone. The FAA is working on upgrading runways so that all will meet this safety standard by 2015 which is when they are legally required to do so.

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