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Florence airport lands grant to beef up security

The Florence Regional Airport has been awarded a grant to make public safety upgrades. (Tonya Brown/WPDE)

The Florence Regional Airport has been awarded a grant of $3.6 million from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make public safety upgrades with the facility's public safety, according to the airport's director Connie Anderson.

Anderson said they applied for the grant in May and was awarded it in July.

She added the funds will be used to build a new Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility.

"Our current facility was constructed in the 1990s. It is out of date and can no longer support the public safety mission of the airport. The construction of the new ARFF facility will ensure the public safety department can support the needs of the airport's public safety mission for years to come," Anderson said.

Florence Regional Airport Public Safety Director Steve Bailey gave us a tour of the old facility.

It's very small with insulation falling from the ceilings and walls.

"It's outgrown. It's outdated. We recognize the need to make improvements. This will allow improvements to our response. If we obtain a larger piece of apparatus to respond to aircraft emergencies, we have a building with the ability to house that apparatus," Bailey said.

He added the new ARFF facility enhances their overall mission of improving public safety.

"The new facility will allow firefighters on duty to have adequate space to conduct training. To do the daily activities. To also give us a good spot to respond. On the event of an aircraft emergency. It's gonna put us above the curb when we're required to do so," Bailey said.

Anderson said site preparation of the project is in full swing.

She added they anticipate the construction to begin within the next couple of months and anticipate a completion date within 12 months.

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