Harlan County airport nears finish line of reconstruction

HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - For the last year and a half, The Tucker-Guthrie Memorial Airport in Harlan County has been under reconstruction and is now nearing its completion date.

The original terminal collapsed on a plane after a heavy snow in 2015 leaving behind piles of destruction.

Harlan County Airport Board Chairman Mark Miracle says the renovation includes both a new hangar and an extended runway.

There is also a fencing project in place for the future.

"Like the saying goes, if you have a mile of blacktop on a road all you can go is a mile, but if you have a mile of blacktop on a runway you can go around the world," Miracle said.

Miracle told WYMT the airport will offer more than it did before, now including a pilot's lounge, a flight planning room, and a new weather system.

"We've also got a new tower going in with all the weather ... everything you see on TV now that shows Harlan on the weather comes from right here at the airport," Miracle explained.

The terminal lobby will feature both a fireplace and big screen TV along with a kitchen, bathrooms, and showers, Which he hopes will make pilots feel like they can relax they way they do at home.

And thanks to a self-serving fuel system pilots will be able to purchase fuel for their aircraft which will bring in more money for the community.

"Everything is brand new, so it should last a long time," said Miracle.

Board members say the highly improved airport is expected to bring in more business to the area and hope the community will enjoy the new addition.

"Bring your kids up, see the airport, and enjoy it because it's a part of the community," Miracle said.

The reconstruction is expected to be finished in the next three weeks.

Organizers hope to plan a grand-opening once the weather warms up.

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