ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) -It has been vacant for years, now Itawamba County leaders will transform the old airport into a training facility for local law and fire officials.
"It's just been a vacant lot," said Supervisor Ricky Johnson.
Johnson said he has personally watched the airport deteriorate over the years so when the sheriff approached the supervisors with the idea of a training facility he was on board.
"What he is going to do is going to be tremendous here in the county," said Johnson.
Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson plans to add a firing range and classrooms to the new training facility. He said they plan to use as much of the 50 acre land as possible; including the runway.
"We can utilize that for the fire department. They can use it to bring vehicles out and work on those vehicles with extrication exercises. Law enforcement can use it for training exercises for training in traffic stops as well as drivers training," Dickinson said.
Because the land is already owned by the county, leaders said the facility will not cost the taxpayers any money. Housing the facility at the old airport, they said, is saving money.
"If you had got the land plus the building (on your own) you are looking at probably $75,000," said Johnson.
Dickinson said the new center will stop his department from having to go somewhere else for training. He said he already has certified instructors on staff so instructors would be easy to come by.