Neighborhood’s future in limbo as Smith Reynolds, FTCC Aviation Center move forward

Neighborhood’s future in limbo as Smith Reynolds, FTCC Aviation Center move forward
December 09
15:35 2020

With T.W. Garner Food Co. expected to move the bulk of its operation to Lansing Drive and the Maize Woodruff Aviation Center scheduled to open next fall, things seem to be taking shape in the area surrounding the Smith Reynolds Airport. But for several people who live in the vicinity of the airport, the future is still unknown.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, members of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, Fleming El Amin and Tonya McDaniel, hosted a virtual informational session where residents had the opportunity to hear about the future of the airport, upcoming projects, and find out how they will be impacted.

The first project discussed during the virtual meeting was T.W. Garner Food Co. (Garner Foods) plan to acquire 30 acres of land near the airport on Lansing Drive from the county. According to Kirby Robinson, assistant director of general services for the county, once the deal is finalized, Garner Foods will build several industrial facilities over several different phases, with the bulk of construction being completed by the end of 2022.

“That’s intended to house Garner Foods’ consolidated distribution headquarters,” Robinson continued. “As you may be aware, they have a plant on Indiana Ave. and I think they will be relocating to this site and then expanding.”

Robinson mentioned that a “purchase contract” will be signed before the end of the month. County officials worked with Garner Foods and a third-party appraiser to value the property at $1.5 million. The property is currently used by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) as a school bus parking lot. WS/FCS has already begun the process to relocate most of the buses from the site. For about two years or so, WS/FCS will continue to lease space on the property to maintain buses and other vehicles.

“We will be entering a due diligence phase with the buyer soon and we expect a purchase contract to be signed in the next week or so,” Robinson said. “A couple of interesting things will happen during due diligence … you will see the buses on the site begin to relocate along with some of the equipment there. So that’s part of the first phase of construction.”

Greg Purvis, who was hired to lead the aviation program at Forsyth Tech Community College, gave an update on the Maize S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab. The 53,000 square foot facility, named after the first African American elected to serve on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, will be designed to provide high-tech educational programming to build a skilled workforce of aviation maintenance technicians and avionics electronics technicians.

The program will provide students with the knowledge and skills to qualify for an aircraft mechanic’s certificate with airframe and power plant ratings, and Aviation Electronics (Avionics) Technology will educate students in the operations, repair and overhaul of general avionics, electrical and electronic systems, practical wiring, navigation, flight management, and communications equipment.

Purvis said construction on the faculty, located at 2739 Aviation Drive, is coming along well and they expect it to be ready for the start of the fall 2021 semester.

“We’re hoping to move in near the beginning of the year and we’re projecting FAA Certification and AP Program classes beginning in August 2021,” Purvis said. “We’re very excited about this because it’s starting to come together.”

Mark Davidson, director of the Smith Reynolds Airport, gave an update on taxiway extension that could demolish more than a dozen homes. A taxiway is a path planes and other aircraft use to connect to the runway.

Davidson said years ago the taxiway was fine, but new safety regulations may force airport officials to extend the taxiway. He said if the taxiway is extended as recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 16 homes along Teresa Ave. could be in jeopardy.

Davidson said modified plans have been submitted that would keep the neighborhood intact. He said because the airport doesn’t see a lot of traffic from large commercial planes, they believe the current length of the taxiway shouldn’t be a safety concern.

“After several studies … we submitted what’s called a ‘mod to standard’ so they’re actually still looking,” Davidson said. “We still haven’t heard from the FAA and I know everyone’s kind of frustrated. We’ve been updating everyone with our newsletters on this issue. I want a determination from the FAA and we’ve been putting pressure on them.”

Davidson said he recently received an email stating that the FAA will make a determination before the end of the year.

“Hold on tight, we should have an answer either way and once we do, we will get that word out,” Davidson said.

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors