When you visit the airport in Navasota, you are going to see more than you think. Joe King Fultz is a member of the Navasota Airport Advisory Committee, and he says changes are obvious.
"We now have more than 26 planes based at our airport," Fultz said. "We have 10 new T-hangers that have just been constructed with plans for more construction."
And he says additional projects have been identified will make the city more attractive to businesses.
That includes plans "to lengthen the runway to 4,000 feet and widen it by another 15 feet, to strengthen the asphalt base [of the runway] so it will be able to bring in bigger planes," Fultz said.
Plans laid out for the public also show a taxiway equal to the length of the runway to be built. Fultz says both the taxiway and extended runway could catch the eye of businesses looking for a faster way to travel between cities without all the hassles of the larger airports.
Navasota's air travel facility once upgraded, Fultz says, would be able to accommodate a good number of businesses with this particular need. And he says in the process, those businesses might see other benefits the city has to offer that would put Navasota on the radar as a possible place to locate their operations.
Navasota Mayor Bert Miller says the city council is excited about the proposed plans.
"We feel like it will open some opportunities for some of the corporate citizens that we have here that have a need for a little larger runway for a larger plane to be able to come in," Miller said.
For a couple of years, the advisory committee and the city council have been working together on an airport development plan. It calls for an expansion of the airport using financial resources from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Fultz says TxDOT has $5 million available yearly that can be applied for by general aviation airports like Navasota's. But to qualify for those funds, TxDOT's Aviation Division has specific criteria must be met, such as a minimum number of aircrafts and occupied hangers at the facility.
Navasota has already checked those and more requirements off the list, and should the airport be awarded TxDOT's available funds within the next three to five years, it could be drawing businesses in many different industries to the city.