City Council accepts state funds for airport

The Hammond City Council voted unanimously to accept $750,000 in state funds to help finance construction of a control tower at Northshore Regional Airport.

The council’s action Tuesday night calls for the city to contribute $200,000 to the project and authorizes Mayor Mayson Foster to enter into a tower construction agreement with the state.

The Federal Aviation Administration already has provided an $800,000 grant for the new tower, now in its design phase.

City grants director Lacy Landrum told the council the design work should be finished by mid-February and that requests for construction bids should be issued in early March. It will take about a year to build the tower, Landrum added.

The tower will be manned by Louisiana Army National Guard personnel.

The Guard became a major tenant at the airport after it installed a helicopter/ aviation complex there following Hurricane Katrina.

Other business coming before the council included:

POLICE STATION: The council agreed to accept $600,000 in state funds for buying the old Hancock Bank building in downtown Hammond for conversion into a new headquarters for the Police Department.

The project will remain on hold while the city seeks permission to buy the property. The state must give final approval before the project goes under construction.

The city plans to match the state grant with $200,000 of its own funds.

HEAVY RAINS: Foster said Hammond homes and businesses had weathered the past week’s heavy rains without extensive property damage.

The mayor said that while some streets were flooded, the city’s drainage system had worked very well. City crews stayed busy unclogging drains and keeping them clear of litter and debris.

HAMMOND CLEANUP: The mayor called on council members to enlist volunteers in support of the Keep Hammond Beautiful Committee’s trash pickup drive from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday.

Volunteers are asked to assemble in the parking lot across from the Regions Bank downtown.

Foster said they are needed because Hammond has won the state Cleanest City contest for the past six years and plans already are being made for the 2013 competition in early spring.