City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday to mark the beginning of construction of the new terminal at the Statesville Regional Airport.

Elected officials and city staff were on hand for the celebration.

The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded the city a grant to help cover the cost of the new three-story facility, which will cost about $12.5 million. Construction is set to begin later this month.

Airport Manager John Ferguson said that the project was the “embodiment” of perseverance. He said that the airport has helped the city land several industries over the years, including Cheney Brothers, Sherwin-Williams, Ashley Furniture, Briggs and Stratton, and Kohler.

“This airport brings jobs,” Ferguson said. “If this airport was not here we wouldn’t have Cheney Brothers or Sherwin Williams.”

Mayor Costi Kutteh agreed.

“This airport is an 80-year overnight success,” he said. “Over the past 80 years, this airport has received $60 million in federal, state, and local support.”

State Sen. Vickie Sawyer and Rep. Jeffrey McNeely, who were instrumental in securing the state grant, were among the attendees.

Sawyer said advocating funds for the Statesville Regional Airport is important.

“It’s in our DNA in Raleigh to invest,” she said.

McNeely agreed, sharing his aspirations for the airport.

“We’re talking to Elizabeth City State University to bring their flight school here,” he said. “We could be the aviation hub of Western North Carolina or for the whole state. This can change generations for this part of the world.”


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