REAGAN COUNTY - The Reagan County is going from rocky roads to paved runways and more. It's all part of a $2.2 million project in response to the growing demand for commercial and business flights in the city.
"There's a saying. A mile o' highway will get you a mile down a road, A mile o' runway will get you anywheres in the world," Airport
Manager Buddy Poyner said.
The runways are where it all starts and ends, and that's why they're the focus of the improvements. The state will be adding a new paved path for travels east and west plus a designated turning area.
Poyner said it's going to promote a safer environment to fly in and out of, with wider runways, plus an extended runway protection zone.
This currently still dirt runway was used as a landing strip for smaller airplanes and largely used for fun, but now with these changes, it opens up the possibility for more corporate affairs.
"Some of the corporate people that have businesses here are also general aviation pilots, and they want to be able to fly into Big Lake to inspect their operations to see how things are going and also to meet up with customers," Poyner said.
He added that the quality of the facility would make an impact on people interested in posting up in the county as well. "If we have no airport access, they may decide well we don't wanna put any yard here or do our business here. Like we want to do our business in Midland, Odessa, or Big Spring."
More activity in Big Lake would also increase their tax base. Poyner said all these improvement are crucial to keeping up with the growth in Big Lake. For example, there's an average of eight arrivals and departures every day. That's how many there used to be in a week.
We wanted to see that growth for ourselves so we took to the sky to get a bird's eye view. We saw the dried bed of the former big lake the town is named after, and the now booming industrial park. Then we made out the runways "the 16 and 34" paved and running north-south and the soon to be paved, 4,000 feet reliever runway, "the 9 and 27."
Afterwards we had a safe and smooth landing on that paved road. I even got to help steer us down. That's exactly what officials are hoping for when the first leg of the project is completed October first.
"It's been a long process, not a slow process, but we've been in the making of this for several years. Now you can actually see what's going on. It's not just on paper. And we feel great about it," he said.