Hall authorities working reported drowning near Sunrise Cove Marina
Hall County Fire Services officials have confirmed they are working a reported drowning in the area of Sunrise Cove Marina, near Oakwood.
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Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport runways closed April 29-May 1
Main runway to be closed May 2-22
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Runways at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville will close Monday through Wednesday, April 29-May 1, as part of a $1.9 million improvements project. - photo by Jeff Gill

The main and secondary runways at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville are scheduled to be closed Monday through Wednesday, April 29-May 1, for improvements.

The main, 5,500-foot runway will remain closed May 2-22, according to the city.

During that time, aircraft will be able to use the secondary 4,001-foot runway, Airport Manager Lisa Poole has said.

A $1.9 million effort is underway to resurface the main runway and replace old runway lights with easier-to-maintain LED lighting.

Poole said in an email she has notified corporate tenants, put a notice on Facebook and alerted Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 611 about the closures.

“I am still getting feedback from local tenants that they had no clue,” she said.

The improvements have been in city plans for a while and include a $500,000 renovation of the terminal building — work that involves federal money from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The red brick building, with its art deco interior, hasn’t changed much from when it was operated by the Navy as a training base for World War II pilots.

The plan is to put down carpet, enlarge the pilot’s lounge, install a new roof and add handicapped-accessible bathrooms.

“The intent of the project is to not significantly alter the original design … but to enhance and renovate the existing building to meet (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards,” said Angie Kennedy, marketing director for Carroll Daniel Construction, the project’s contractor.

As for the improvements happening this spring, Tom Hensley, president of Fieldale Farms Corp., has said the main runway “has some cracks in it, and it’s been about 15 years since they repaved it.”

“We’ll have to go to (Barrow County Airport in) Winder while it’s being done, because we use our planes all the time. Or we may go to Gwinnett County,” he said.

Fieldale opened a new 12,000-square-foot hangar at the airport last year.

Many of Lee Gilmer’s users are private pilots, but a large number are executives from local companies.

“We are fortunate to have a secondary runway at Lee Gilmer Airport,” said Tim Evans, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of economic development. “At 4,000 feet, the secondary runway is quite capable. I would not expect the interruption to be anything other than a short-term inconvenience.”

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