Lake Norman & Mooresville

Statesville considers upgrading runway

The Statesville City Council is considering upgrading the airport's runway to accommodate a corporate jet that will begin landing there next year.

Lowe's Companies, which has its corporate aviation headquarters in Statesville, will begin flying its 69,000-pound jet into the Statesville Regional Airport next year. Officials say the runway needs improvement in spots to accommodate an airplane that large.

“We've bought a little extra time, since the Lowe's jet won't be arriving until April of next year,” Public Works Director Larry Pressley said at the council's July pre-agenda meeting. “The pavement evaluation we recently conducted indicates that while most of the runway is structurally sound, we will need to add varying amounts of asphalt to support the heavier jets.”

City officials had initially wanted to upgrade the runway so it could handle takeoffs and landings of planes weighing up to 70,000 pounds. Now, they are considering additional asphalt to bring the limit up to 100,000 pounds so it can accommodate larger jets.

Complicating the issue is a low spot, or dip, in the main runway. Some council members believe that the dip, which ranges up to several inches, must also be fixed before the airport can handle heavier jets such as Lowe's.

To date, $3.6 million in state and federal funds has been identified for the runway strengthening, and the council asked Pressley and his consultants to report estimates for the various strengthening options and eliminating the dip.

In other action at the July meeting, the council:

Approved a modification to an incentive agreement between the city and Kook's Custom Headers, a Long Island, N.Y.-based custom automotive exhaust systems manufacturer. The city had previously agreed to sell Kook's 12 acres at the Statesville Business Park at a cost of $22,500 per acre rather than the $27,500 regular rate, to help the company relocate into a new building.

Kook's asked to buy only 4 acres now and the other 8 later. Noting that the company's move to Statesville would be the first new business to relocate into the park since 1995 and that it would bring 55 new jobs, the council approved the modification unanimously.