Last updated: April 04. 2014 2:43PM -

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Close to a hundred people gathered at Twin County Airport on March 27 to attend the dedication of the new $1.4 million terminal building.

Tom Jones, chairman of the Twin County Airport Commission, thanked all those who had a hand in the funding and building of the new facility, as well as those who have supported improvements and programs at the airport over the years.

“On behalf of myself and the Twin County Airport Commission and the airport manager, I would like to thank you for your help bringing this airport into the 21st Century,” Jones told those gathered. “As we in aviation say, this is the front door to our community to business and industry.”

Jones made special mention of Raleigh Cooley, the only remaining member of the group responsible for developing the airport in 1967.

“You’ve done a magnificent job,” Cooley said of the new terminal.

The 4,000-square-foot terminal will house flight operations, management offices, passenger and pilot lounges, a conference room and a flight planning room, among other things. The Virginia Department of Aviation provided 73 percent of the funds for the terminal, with the remaining 27 percent, or $230,542.45, being provided equally by the City of Galax and the counties of Carroll and Grayson.

Several dignitaries spoke during the dedication, including Jeff Campbell, who represents the 6th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“This is an important step forward,” said Campbell. “This airport has a $1.4 million impact per year on the Twin Counties. I hope someday, not too far in the future, we can gather here to make this a regional airport.”

“We do take pride of having a role in the development of the airport here,” said Terry Page, manager of the Federal Aviation Administration in Dulles, Va.

Page noted that the FAA had invested about $5 million in Twin County Airport over the years, starting with $178,000 in 1967.

“The credit really had to go to the local community, that’s what really makes an airport grow,” he added.

Randy Burdette, director of the Virginia Department of Aviation, said that company leaders who land at the airport will know the Twin Counties are “open for business.”

Burdette went on to say that airports are “economic engines, technology magnets and tourist getaways.” He added state and federal agencies will spend $9.3 million over the next six years to help Twin County Airport with an apron expansion, a hangar site prep and a runway extension.

Michael Howlett can be contacted at 276-728-7311 or onTwitter@MikeEHowlett

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