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Tallahassee commissioners okay exploring airport partnerships for more shipping and distribution

Tom Flanigan

The Tallahassee City Commission is entering negotiations with Burrell Aviation and other aviation companies, for the Tallahassee International Airport. The city is considering partnerships that would increase the airport’s capacity for shipping and distribution.

At their Wednesday meeting, commissioners heard from David Pollard, director of the city’s Aviation Department, about the mixed-use plan. Called Project Alpha, it would involve air cargo and distribution as well as aviation. Pollard says it would generate jobs and capital.

“In terms of economic impact, we would expect this would create about 738 permanent jobs, 433 temporary construction jobs, and have a combined total economic impact of $147 million dollars to this community," Pollard said.

He said the impact would go well beyond Tallahassee.

“As we look toward the airport being an economic generator for not just this community, this city, this county, this entire Northwest Florida region, we set the strategic priority, as contained in the city’s strategic plan, to exceed a $1 billion economic impact by 2024," Pollard said.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to let city staff enter negotiations with Burrell and others. Commissioner Jeremy Matlow said he has questions about the plan, such as the length of the agreement. But since negotiations will be ongoing, he said, he’ll have time to get the answers he needs.

Mayor John Dailey called the project “a game-changer for this community.”

"This is how we change Tallahassee and Leon County with positive economic impact, this is how we change the region on positive economic impact, this is exciting and I’m really looking forward to taking the next step," Dailey said.

Follow @MargieMenzel

Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.