FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin Tuesday joined federal, state and local officials and area business leaders to officially break ground on the newest general aviation airport in Sparta, Kentucky. An event in Gallatin County celebrated the upcoming construction launch to build Kentucky’s 58th general aviation airport — the first local airport to serve the business needs of the Interstate 71 corridor from Louisville to Cincinnati.
“We are excited today to officially break ground on the commonwealth’s newest airport here in Gallatin County,” said Gov. Bevin. “This long-anticipated project will bring aviation access to Northern Kentucky’s I-71 corridor, enhancing emergency response capabilities, economic growth, and recreational opportunities for the entire region.”
Hosted on the site of the future facility just minutes from I-71, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Greg Thomas and Federal Aviation Administration official Duane Johnson made remarks applauding the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local agencies to move the project forward since its initial proposal in 2004.
“Investments in roadways and runways keep our economy growing and our people moving,” said Secretary Thomas. “Air travel is an important part of Kentucky’s transportation network, and all across the state we’ve seen communities embrace general aviation airports and benefit from economic growth and enhanced infrastructure.”
Also participating in today’s event were business representatives from the Kentucky Speedway and I-71 Connected, a regional economic development partnership serving Carroll, Gallatin, Henry, Oldham, Owen and Trimble counties.
Airport construction will take place in three phases. Phase one work – which will last just under a year – includes clearing and grading the land, and may start as early as November or in the spring of 2020. Phase two – which could take up to two years – includes runway construction and the installation of lighting and striping. Once the second phase is completed, the facility will be opened for use. The third phase of work includes the construction of box hangars for corporate and large aircraft, T-hangars for small business and private aircraft, a terminal, and on-site fuel systems.
“The Kentucky Department of Aviation has been committed to building a successful airport from the very beginning,” said Kentucky Department of Aviation (KDA) Commissioner Todd Bloch. “Once complete, this state of the art facility will provide a safe and reliable connection for recreational pilots, business aircraft and emergency service teams. Anticipating the immediate interest when we open for business, KDA is working with Gallatin County to make some phase three features available on the first day of the airport’s opening.”
Estimates indicate 30-50 aircraft will be based at the airport once hangar space is available and around 13,000 take-offs are expected per year from the new airstrip.
“This is a monumental effort that spanned two decades and involved intense dedication from the members of our communities, as well as our elected leaders,” said Gallatin County Judge-Executive and airport board member Ryan Morris. “This airport signifies the next step of growth for Gallatin County and its neighbors.”
The new airport will also feature an access road and connector to I-71 exit 55, providing efficient road access to industries in the tristate area.