The Philadelphia Municipal Airport will install new fencing after receiving more than $400,000 in federal monies.

The city recently received $403,583 for improvements as part of a $1.6 million grant from the federal Department of Transportation that went to three rural Mississippi airports.

That monies will pay to install a 15,000-foot perimeter fence to protect the airport from unauthorized and inadvertent entry as well as potential wildlife hazards.

Mayor James Young said that this fence represents a key safety feature for the facility.
“We are thankful this grant came through,” Young said. “This project is about safety, particularly when aircraft are landing. It will prevent any stray animal or unauthorized people from getting on the runway and causing a hazard. We are doing everything we can to enhance our airports’ user friendliness and safety.”

This multi-year grant, announced through the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Guest, will provide $253,583 in fiscal year 2019 funding. The remaining $150,000 will be an added amendment, subject to future appropriations, in fiscal year 2020.

Young said that Waggoner Engineering already has contractors on site clearing trees for the project and hopes to begin work on the fence soon.

Guest said he hopes the improvements will help strengthen the economies of the three communities it will impact.

“Having sound local infrastructure is a vital piece of economic development in Mississippi communities,” Guest said. “These grants will go a long way in growing our economy and providing jobs for Mississippians.”

Young echoed Guest’s remarks.

“Again I am glad we were approved,” he said. “This grant will give our airport a safety feature that is just one more thing to make it more attractive for potential businesses looking to locate here. This is another thing to improve our airport and help us grow economically.”

Philadelphia’s airport is currently designated as "basic" in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems report. 

The city of Magee received $1,045,000 for improvements to the Magee Municipal Airport and the City of Bay Springs received $149,877 for improvements to Thigpen Field. 

Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao released a statement on the importance of airport infrastructure in developing strong local economies.

"The Department has been investing heavily in our nation's airport infrastructure, which will strengthen economic growth and create jobs in communities across the country," Chao said.