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|Airport terminal project takes another step forward|
Tuesday night was a defining moment for the city of Monroe, according to Mayor Jamie Mayo.
That's because the Monroe City Council agreed to advertise for bids for the construction of a new $35-million Monroe Regional Airport terminal.
The city hopes to break ground on that project sometime in the summer.
"With all of the positive things that's going on … to be able to advertise for bids at the same time we're taking steps to get on the state Bond Commission's agenda … it's a giant step," Mayo said. "By the summer, no later than September, we hope to break ground on that project."
He said there have been a number of events recently in Monroe that should be considered major accomplishments.
Some of these accomplishments include CenturyTel's acquisition of EMBARQ, a transaction valued at roughly $11.6 billion; Accent Marketing locating in Monroe; CPSI Inc. expanding operations to Monroe; and Monday's announcement that Gardner Denver Thomas will consolidate its operations at its Monroe plant.
"All of those just laid the foundation for more economic growth," Mayo said. "It shows that Monroe as a whole has laid the foundation that's created an environment that's conducive to growth."
"That's what it's all about," Mayo added.
Mayo is optimistic Gardner Denver Thomas' decision to consolidate operations in Monroe will encourage other companies across the country to look at the region, too.
"Every time you have an announcement such as CPSI and Gardner Denver, it continues to keep us on the radar with other prospects," Mayo explained. "Even with these challenging economic times, they know that Monroe and our region are still doing positive things that's attracting others to it. It also shows we can compete with anybody when given the opportunity."
All of that attention leads back to the new terminal project because it is the "welcome mat" to the region, Mayo said.
When business and industry representatives tour the area, the Monroe airport is the first sight they see, Mayo said.
He is optimistic the new terminal project can be completed by the end of 2010.
In a related matter, the city council agreed to become a member of the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority.
Mayo will serve as director to the authority. He will request that the authority issue up to $21 million in Airport Revenue Bonds for the new terminal project.
Mayo said by joining the authority, the city would get a better interest rate on its bond issue.
He said this authority was established by the Louisiana Municipal Association to help small communities to get better interest rates on bond issues.
Bill Boles Jr. of the Boles Law Firm in Monroe will serve as bond counsel for the city in its sale of Airport Revenue Bonds.