DALTON — Construction will begin next year at Dalton Municipal Airport on a $1.26 million project to upgrade the ramp facilities and add a helipad.

At Monday’s Dalton City Council meeting, the council voted 4-0 to approve requesting bids for the first phase of the project, which will cost local taxpayers $67,730 with the federal government picking up most of the project’s cost. The Georgia Department of Transportation will add $65,411 to the project.

“This is something we have needed and been waiting for forever and a day,” said airport manager Justin Morrow. “Our supporting infrastructure has been in need of an upgrade for a while.”

The ramp facilities at an airport are basically used for parking. The airport was originally constructed on an old speedway in the late 1970s. 

The new construction will finish with nearly 30,000 square feet of newly paved areas along with new drainage and soil filtration systems. Included in the designs are eight tie-down spaces for overnight parking of aircraft and a helipad. It will be completed in two phases and should be completed by the beginning of 2019.

Morrow said the airport had about 4,000 flights out of or into Dalton in 2016.