RIDGELAND, Sc. (WSAV) – In the Lowcountry, changes are coming to Jasper County with the expansion of the Ridgeland Claude Dean Airport that is currently home to about 60 general aviation planes.
” In our larger economic development goals to attract businesses to Jasper County, we think that the airport and the airport expansion project will serve as a real critical piece of economic development,” said Jasper County Administrator Andrew Fulghum.
It’s a 20 million dollar expansion project building a much longer run way and a taxi-way.
“A parallel taxiway will make it safer and actually airport operations can evolve with more landings and takeoffs,” said Airport Manager Richard Dean.
Ten years in the making, they’ve finally got it off the ground with 90% funded by the federal government. The south Carolina Aeronatics Commission says it’s currently the biggest general aviation project in the state.
The vision is to bring business to Jasper.
“We’ve got businessmen, who have airplanes here on this field, and they fly in and out to other parts of the country to do business here and by expanding the airport and make it more safe will attract more of that,” said Dean.
And growing current business as well…
“I’ve been flying in and out of the airport for probably 15 or 20 years, but been out here actually doing the work for about 4 now. The traffic through is gonna be a lot more so the opportunity’s there for more maintenance work, to hire more mechanics to help build the business,” said Dennis Argetsinger, owner of Gunz Aviation, an aircraft maintenance business at the airport.
The contractors have just launched phase one and expect the entire project to be complete within two years.