Panhandle airports receiving funds from CARE Grant

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Northwest Florida Beaches International is getting a little more than $6 million from the CARES Act.

It’s part of the $900-million in federal stimulus money going to airports across Florida.

The Federal Government included airports in the CARES Act because of the massive decrease in air travel.

“We like every other airport in the country, or at 95% down, so we are seeing anywhere from 100 to 150 people a day go through the airport, or come in and go out, so almost 300 people a day if we’re lucky,” said Director of ECP Airport, Parker McClellan.

Beaches International Airport will be receiving $6.3 million from the CARES Act.

 Airport Director, Parker McClellan says the money could go to a variety of items.

“It can go to projects, it can go to additional costs associated with COVID-19, it can go to paying salaries, it can go to a lot of different things. We do want to look at those before we just jump right in and make sure that we are spending the money and using the money to the most advantageous part of the airport,” said McClellan.

So far, nothing is set in stone.

“We’re in the process of reviewing that, and we will be making a presentation to our ward over the next several weeks of how to best utilize those funds,” said McClellan.

Marianna Municipal Airport is receiving $30,000. Airport officials want to use it to resurface the main entrance.

“It’s going to entail some base work and alot of resurfacing, the road is probably over 40-50 years old and has not been resurfaced in that long,” said James ‘Jim’ Dean, Marianna City Manager.

Airports like the Destin Fort-Walton Beach Airport, Crestview, Defuniak Springs, Apalachicola, Bonifay and Blountstown are all getting grants, ranging from $12-million down to $20,000.

The Federal Aviation Administration says they hope to have the money in their hands within the next few weeks.

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