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Harvest Foundation awards Blue Ridge Airport $863,000 for runway extension

HENRY COUNTY – The Harvest Foundation kicked off its 2019 grant award announcements Wednesday at Blue Ridge Airport, reporting a total $3.88 million awarded to eight organizations by the foundation’s board of directors.  

“We have a wide range of diverse projects and programs that were under consideration this fall,” said Allyson Rothrock, president of The Harvest Foundation. “Harvest’s program staff spends a great deal of time working with these organizations throughout the year to ensure the strongest proposals are presented to the board of directors. We are excited to work with our partners and see how these organizations will positively impact our community in the coming months.” 

The first grant recipient is Blue Ridge Airport, receiving a total of $863,000 for improvements at the airport.

Initial funding of $63,000 will go toward an environmental study, while the remaining $800,000 will be used for the runway extension project’s design work.

This portion of the funding is a program-related investment and will be reimbursed through the Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration and the Virginia Department of Aviation.  

“The support that The Harvest Foundation is providing is remarkable and uncommon in the airport world,” said Rob Spilman, member of the Blue Ride Airport Authority. “In partnering with Harvest, we can potentially cut the timeline in half, bringing growth and opportunities to our area that are crucial.” 

With support from The Harvest Foundation, the project could be completed as early as 2025, avoiding a potential six-year delay. 

“Blue Ridge Airport receives aircraft from local and regional industries as well as global companies,” said David Stone, chairman of The Harvest Foundation Board of Directors, during the press conference. “The airport is a vital gateway that boosts commerce and tourism for Martinsville-Henry County. For every dollar the foundation invests, the airport will potentially leverage fifty dollars from state and federal sources. This is a major economic win for our community.” 

Debra Buchanan, member of the Henry County Board of Supervisors, added, “We recruit in the biggest of arenas. We want the significant corporate partnerships that bring us an international flair; we want the ones that increase our footprint from coast to coast in this country, too. Companies and corporations of that size and of that impact don’t travel by car. They travel through the air, and many of them land right here at Blue Ridge Airport.”  

Other speakers from the event included Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and Jason Davis, manager of the Blue Ridge Airport. 

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