082417 Economy: Report envisions airport’s future in business and education
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The airport’s current users are equally divided between recreational and business flights.

Economy: Report envisions airport’s future in business and education

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The economic boost Georgetown County once sought from its seaport could come instead from its airport under a strategic plan developed by a 21-member committee.

It calls for making the facility the best on the coast for general aviation, attracting businesses that support the Boeing plant in North Charleston and providing education for students who want to make a career in aviation.

The plan presented to County Council this week includes more than 40 strategies that will be carried out by county staff and the Airport Commission to meet those goals.

“This is one of the best plans I’ve been involved with,” said Doug Decker, who chaired the committee. He is an engineer and a pilot who has worked on over 100 airport plans.

“In two to three years, we could see some real dramatic changes at the airport that are less runway oriented and more business oriented,” he said.

A grant is available to help launch an aerospace engineering curriculum in the county schools. The deadline passed for this year, but the school district plans to apply next year, said James Stephens, the state Aeronautics Commission director. “Education kept coming to the forefront of the discussion” about the airport’s future, he said.

Council Chairman Johnny Morant welcomed the plan. “The airport has never received the attention it deserves,” he said.

Another goal of the plan is to make the facility self-sufficient, by increasing activities for the general public as well as pilots.

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