By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously adopted a resolution to accept a $2,238,360 federal grant for the extension of Astoria Road.
Board members took the action during their Feb. 8 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Bethany Huffman.
The resolution states that the Federal Lands Access Program was created to improve state and local transportation facilities that provide access to and through federal lands for “visitors, recreationists and resource users.”
It notes that proposed projects or studies must be located on a public highway, road, bridge, trail or transit system that is on, adjacent to or provides access to federal lands for which the facility title or maintenance responsibility is vested with a state, county, city, township, tribal, municipal or local government.
In March 2015, the city submitted an application for a FLAP grant to extend Astoria Road from the Millington Regional Jetport to the Naval Support Activity’s Mid-South Facility. The grant will be partially matched by a $247,530 Delta Regional Authority grant that the board accepted last year.
The resolution states that the entire project is for the benefit of the Millington Industrial Development Board and the Millington Municipal Airport Authority. It notes that the required remaining $338,060 in local matching funds will be provided by these entities either “in-kind” or in cash.
During discussion shortly before the vote, City Finance Director John Trusty said that money will primarily come from land the IDB already owns that will be converted into right of way for the Astoria extension.
“The city will be able to count the price value of that land,” he noted. “All the land attached to this is IDB/Airport land that will front this road.”
Jetport Manager Roy Remington said a Tennessee appraiser will be responsible for identifying the value of the property that the IDB will donate to allow the project to move forward.
He acknowledged that, after the value of that property and the funds from the DRA grant are taken “into account,” there will still be a remaining balance of approximately $160,000. Because the city is the applicant for the FLAP grant, he said it will have to be able to “put forward” that amount so the grant can be received.
“The IDB and the Airport Authority both strongly support this project,” he noted. “This is a chance for that area of this community to be redeveloped for the first time.”
Remington said “redefining and reinventing” itself as a community was one of the challenges Millington faced after the Base Realignment and Closure Commission transferred the Naval Air Station to Pensacola, Fla.
He said the FLAP grant will allow the city to put its “best foot forward” regarding what it has to offer, and it will “strengthen” the reasons for the Navy’s desire to maintain a presence here.
“With that in mind,” he concluded, “we at the airport, in conjunction with the IDB, will work very closely to make sure that the city has the funds it needs to make this project go forward.”