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Airport business wants new hangar

Posted: March 27, 2014 5:58 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2014 5:00 a.m.

One of Woodward Field’s two aircraft businesses wants to build a new hangar to replace one dating back to 1941. Frank Shumpert, head of Aircraft Maintenance Services (AMS), spoke to Kershaw County Council during its meeting Tuesday. Shumpert said his company has been at Woodward Field, also known as Kershaw County Airport, for 15 years.

“We’ve been needing a hangar for quite a while. I have different proposals and different ways to go about getting that done,” Shumpert said.

He said a good community airport is an asset to economic development, as many corporations use airplanes to travel to their various office and factory locations.

“A lot of times you have business people coming to Kershaw County and they’re landing at Woodward Field. What do you want them to see, a vibrant airport with activity where their planes can be serviced?” Shumpert asked.

He said that from 1990 to 1998, the airport had a yearly average of 12,000 take offs and landings. From 1999 to the present, there have been 36,500 take offs and landings each year.

“There’s 68 airports in South Carolina and Camden is number 17,” Shumpert said. “You’re ahead of other airports that are much larger. You have all the services at your airport that a airport needs to have -- fuel for sale, courtesy cars, fuel trucks. You even have self-serve so if somebody lands there and there’s nobody there they can get fuel. Each year we’ve done better and better.”

Shumpert said AMS has serviced and repaired avionics, electronics used for aircraft communication and navigation, since 2002, but that he wants to expand that part of the business, which requires space and would create new jobs.

“Right now, most aircraft are getting avionic upgrades. We want to get a piece of that and bring more people into Camden and into Kershaw County. We can do this with your help in upgrading our hangar and building a new facility that can handle the larger aircraft,” he said. “The bigger the airplane, the bigger the responsibility and the more money they spend, and we want them to spend it here in Kershaw County.”

Shumpert said the proposed hangar would be 15,625 square feet in size, compared to the 5,600 square foot hangar now in use. He estimated the cost at $326,000 for the basic building, plus approximately another $50,000 for a concrete floor sturdy enough to hold the weight of a large plane.

He said his lease at the airport recently ended and he renewed it for only three months so he could see where the new hangar proposal was headed.

“The reason I didn’t renew it for another five years is because there are other airports that are trying to get us to move. I like Kershaw County. I’ve been here 15 years. I would rather stay here, but there are other options for us,” Shumpert said. “I didn’t want to renew for five years, then find out I was going to be in that (old) hangar another five years. I’ll renew for another three months and hopefully something can be decided.”

Council agreed to discuss the issue during a work session next Tuesday, with an eye on appointing someone as a go-between for council and AMS at the next regular council meeting Tuesday, April 8.

Also Tuesday, council heard a presentation from Mike Briggs of the South Carolina Central Alliance. The alliance is made up of Kershaw County, eight other counties, the University of South Carolina and the city of Columbia.

“This is our 20th anniversary year, so we’ve been at this a long time. We’ve developed relationships all over the world, from and economic development standpoint,” Briggs said. “We are the oldest, the largest and the fullest-service alliance in the state.”

Briggs used a slide show to detail the alliance’s efforts in attracting industries to central South Carolina.

“In essence, we are a concentration of talent the counties share. It means not everybody has to do all of the things we do,” he said. “We have carried the regional message all around the world.”

Briggs said the alliance and Kershaw County have partnered on 50 new projects and expansions worth $943 million and 3,700 jobs since 1996. He said the alliance has goals to return outsourced jobs back to the U.S. and entice foreign companies to send jobs here, as well.

“There’s a lot of interest right now in getting assets into the United States, building brick and mortar (facilities) and creating jobs,” he said. “We spend a lot of time talking to companies around the United States and around the Eurozones.”

Briggs said Kershaw County is well poised to attract new business.

“It continues to be for us a privilege and an honor to represent Kershaw County and it has been for the last 18 years,” Briggs said.

In other business:

• Council approved third and final reading of an ordinance granting an easement to two property owners who need to cross a small piece of county-owned land to access their own.

• Council passed second reading of an ordinance that would approve Sunday sales of alcohol in unincorporated areas of Kershaw County if voters approve the measure in the Nov. 4 election.

• Council passed first readings on three ordinances regarding zoning and planning. The first would change a specific property from RD-2, residential to I-1, industrial. The second would allow the main signs at industrial parks to be made twice the size currently allowed. At this time signs are restricted to a maximum size of 50 square feet. Planning Department Director Carolyn Hammond said the planning commission supports the size increase. The final ordinance would allow existing “non-conforming” structures to be expanded up to 10 percent while retaining the non-conforming designation. Hammond said such structures were built before planning and zoning regulations were made.  

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