The Pine Bluff Aviation Commission approved Thursday submitting a proposed 2018 budget that would increase airport employees’ salaries by three percent. Airport manager Doug Hale presented a proposed airport budget request of $133,119 for calendar year 2018. Commissioners Dr. Michele Pashkevich, Harvey Sizemore, Rocky Thornburgh, Tommy Palmer, Ken Johnson and Kenneth Collins voted to send this proposed budget to Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington.
Hale provided his letter to Washington in which he called the airport an unlimited and immeasurable benefit to Pine Bluff, Jefferson County and Southeast Arkansas.
“Grider Field connects our city to the entire world,” Hale said in the letter. “Through this connection, local companies such as Evergreen Packaging, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, the Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas Department of Corrections, Union Pacific, Entergy, Stant and Brookshires are able to accomplish business in a more efficient manner. Also, it is the first impression of our city for new businesses that are interested in locating here. Grider Field truly serves as the front door to our city.”
Hale said his requested budget would be used to meet projected annual expenses. In leasing space at Pine Bluff Regional Airport Grider Field news, Harvey Brock applied as a private citizen to lease one quarter of Hanger 8 at $235 per month. The commission approved his request.
Harvey Brock applied on behalf of LS Tractor Company to lease space at the Armory building at Pine Bluff Regional Airport Grider Field. The amount of money to be paid per the terms of this lease is to be determined. The commission approved a motion to have Airport Manager Doug Hale proceed with the lease.
Hale said the airport generates revenue through leasing space and through selling aviation fuel. In other news, Mike Flight’s Service pilot Mike Lain said his school has seen fewer student pilots since August. He said the Civil Air Patrol has 18 members and two search and rescue crews.
Rickey Works of the Grider Field Museum said his organization is raising money to preserve a World War II barracks at the airport. The organization is preparing an application to add the barracks building to a historic register. This building has a leaking roof.
“We have been notified that we are to receive a gift from the Jefferson County Historic Foundation,” Works said. “… We asked for $10,000. We expect to get somewhere around that amount.”
Works said the organization has held four fundraisers and currently has about $12,000 in the bank. Works said he expects to apply to the Trinity Foundation for a grant.
In other news, the Experimental Aircraft Association will be doing formation flying exercises at Grider Field from Friday, Oct. 20, to Sunday, Oct. 22. Hale welcomes people to come to the airport to observe the pilots although the pilots will not be interacting with people on the ground. There is no charge of admission.