When all is said and done, Cornelius Moore Field will have a full 5,000 feet of runway for planes to fly in and out of Polk County in a project that began last year with an announcement from former Governor Nathan Deal.
More than a year later, the money Deal promised to help Polk and 10 other airport projects around the state is being put to use. Local and state officials gathered with contractors to mark the official start of Polk County's project in a groundbreaking ceremony held on June 25.
The project proposed by the former governor in early 2018 saw Deal coming to Cornelius Moore Field to sign an amended state budget to include some $25 million in funding to go toward the projects around the state.
Polk County's runway extension is set to cost around $8 million, most of that coming from
"We're excited to see what's going to happen with Polk County's economic development and what the future holds for us," Hulsey said. "This project is the combination of federal, state and local funds and all those entities working together to make it happen."
She added that none of it would have been possible without the help of several state officials, including Deal's decision in his final year to earmark money for runway improvements not just in Polk County, but at several others around the state and mainly targeting rural areas.
That sentiment was echoed by State Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) who spoke about the positive aspects of the project and how it will allow new opportunites to arise locally.
"As we have already seen throughout the community, progress has been made to improve economic development. The extension of the runway here at Cornelius Moore Field will certainly only add to that," Kelley said.
He added that ahead of the ceremony, he spoke with a local business he didn't specifically name at the event and found them excited by the prospect of a longer runway that will accomodate most business-sized jets, like those from Gulfstream or Learjet.
"We have a great story to tell in Polk County, and by allowing new types of transportation to land at our field it allows us to touch down here," he said. "It will open Polk County up to the world and help us better tell our story, and all the progress being made in Polk County."
Kelley added he was also thankful to work with local officials to "get this project done."
"Nothing worth doing is easy," he said. "There has been some not so easy times in this project, but working with our DOT and Governor Deal and his staff, and in continuation with Governor Kemp we've gotten this done."
He did add he appreciated those trying to keep the cost of runway improvements down for local taxpayers as well. He also offered up well wishes from Kemp, who at the time was in South Korea on a economic development mission of his own.
"I know that we will see the benefit of this investment made from our county, our state and the federal government pay of exponentially in the generations to follow after us in Polk County," Kelley said as he closed his remarks.
Additional comments from Georgia Department of Transportation's Carol Comer, the head of the Intermodal division, and an invocation provided by Polk County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jonathan Blackmon.