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Improvements to Wood County Airport Collins Field Make Wood County Even More of a Destination

Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron

Working with the WCEDC, the airport has made “great improvements” to the airport over the last year, according to Randy Bateman, Airport Board President.

At a time when many rural communities are struggling to maintain existing infrastructure, Wood County is making improvements. We will continue to enhance our infrastructure, which supports tourism.”
— Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron
QUITMAN, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, December 29, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Over the years, the Wood County Economic Development Commission (WCEDC) has made great strides when it comes to enhancing existing local events like the Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork as well as creating new ones – Wood County Walls.

However, all those efforts would be for naught if the Commission didn’t enhance the infrastructure to make it easy for tourists to travel to the events.

That’s why recent and future planned improvements to Wood County-Collins Field Airport are so meaningful to those who produce the events as well as those who benefit from the increased revenues from tourism – Wood County residents.

Working with the WCEDC, the airport has made “great improvements” to the airport over the last year, according to Randy Bateman, Airport Board President.

“For example, we are in the process of expanding our aircraft parking area,” said Bateman. “When finished, it will double the parking for transit aircraft parking.

“In the past, we have had a problem with larger aircraft being able to have access to the fuel system if we had too many aircraft on the ramp. When the new ramp is open, that will alleviate that problem and will make it safer for planes to access the fuel system. This project is scheduled to finish mid-January.”

Erin Mason, Assistant Airport Manager, elaborated.

“Having the new ramp will offer more space for visitors of all aircraft sizes to stay and explore Wood County,” she said. “With the new area we will have more space for fly-in events, chartered airplanes and far enough from larger cities where larger aircraft choose to stop and fuel.”

The improvements don’t end there.

“We are about half-way through fencing on the east side of the airport,” he added. “This will keep unauthorized traffic off of the flight line and aircraft parking areas. It will increase the safety for pilots and visitors to the airport. We hope to finish the fencing project by the middle of January.

“Finally, we have updated the beacon light that guides pilots to the airport at night. The new light is brighter, meaning it increases the safety to the pilots by being able to see the beacon from a farther distance at night and bad weather. On a clear night it can be seen from more than miles away.”

Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron said the improvements should not be underestimated.

“At a time when many rural communities in Texas are struggling to maintain existing infrastructure, Wood County is making improvements,” said Judge Hebron. “We will continue to enhance our infrastructure, which supports tourism.”

The Best is Yet to Come

While the existing improvements are significant, Bateman said the airport’s ultimate goal is to extend the runway.

“We have been trying to get funding for the runway extension for the last four years,” he said. “Our runway now is 4001ft. We are trying to go to 5001ft. The extra length will increase the safety for pilots on wet and bad weather days. It will allow for more jet traffic, as they require the 5000 ft for operations.”

Bateman believes the expansion could happen in the near future, or at least “in the next ten years.” The timeline depends on funding from TexDot Aviation.

That improvement will further transform Wood County.

“When we go to 5000ft, we would be the same as Terrell,” he said. “That means other than Tyler, Wood County and Terrell would be the longest airfields between Longview and Dallas.”

About Wood County

Nestled in the Piney Woods of East Texas, Wood County is all of the Texas you expect in a county you’ll love: Active downtown districts, engaging outdoor activities, and friendly neighbors! Wood County is the ideal location for a weekend getaway or extended vacation, starting or expanding your small business, or becoming a permanent part of any of our welcoming communities. Home to Lake Fork—named the #1 bass fishing destination in the nation by Bassmaster Magazine—Wood County also has a variety of attractions to appeal to just about everyone, such as the Mineola Nature Preserve and the Links at Land’s End golf course to name just two. Come to Wood County: “The Texas You Expect in a County You’ll Love!” For more information, visit https://LoveWoodCounty.com.

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