By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
Renting airplane hangars has created a revenue stream for county and municipal airports across Tennessee and officials at Lewisburg's Ellington Airport are planning another at the landing strip near Berlin.
Construction and the subsequent rental of hangars planned at Ellington Airport "would come real close to making the airport self sustaining," Airport Manager Clay Derryberry told Lewisburg councilmen last week.
Derryberry outlined the state program that can result in grants for hangar construction and after several questions and answers, the council unanimously voted to authorize Mayor Barbara Woods' signature on an application.
If a grant were awarded, the city would have to pay 10 percent of the project's cost.
"We have 13 names on a waiting list for hangars" at Ellington Airport, Derryberry reported.
Rent from hangars typically results in revenue flow to pay for the city's cost of the hangars in several years, he said. Thereafter, the rent is revenue to help pay operational costs. Fuel sales are also a revenue stream for the airport.
Construction of the most recently completed hangars faced typical issues in Middle Tennessee: Drainage and a sinkhole. The contractor "went belly up," the airport manager said. A construction bond was called to hire another contractor to complete the job.
Also during the Dec. 13 council meeting, Derryberry reported that the Airport Board voted to recommend against a request from Aaron Hovis, the owner of a home and some property that borders the airport.
Hovis asked if he could buy some of the airport property so he could build another structure near his home.
"The consensus is that we don't want to sell any property," Derryberry said. "If we did, because of the grants (for various facility improvements and land purchases) we'd probably have to give the money back."
Hovis "was very nice and understanding" about the situation, the airport manager said, adding that his response was, "'Well, it was worth a try.'"
Councilmen agreed that no action was required.