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Gadsden Airport Authority rejects sale of land at Northeast Alabama Regional Airport

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 8:28 PM CST
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - Friday, the Gadsden Airport Authority voted unanimously to reject both offers from Pilgrims Pride and community members of Etowah County. The authority states they will not sale or lease 88 acres of land at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport to either party.

Throughout Etowah County there are signs that say ‘Reject the Rendering Plant’, and the authority says they have done just that. Refusing both Pilgrims Pride’s proposal for a rendering plant and community members in Etowah County’s plans to use the land for a light industrial park.

One authority member says this decision was made based on evaluations of the proposals and the Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The proposal for a rendering plant has brought attention to the airport for more than a year. The authority says they hope this interest will continue.

“The interest generated in our airport. I have heard more about the asset that the airport is for this community over the past year than I have in the previous five years,” says one member of the Gadsden Airport Authority. “From individuals, from the county and from neighboring municipalities. My hope is that when this is over, the airport is not forgotten. I hope you continue to come to the meetings. I hope you continue to support the asset that is the airport.”

Several lawsuits have been filed against the airport authority and Pilgrims Pride. In a statement today, they are requesting to have them dismissed.

“In light of this unanimous action by the Board of the GAA, the GAA calls on the plaintiffs, and the lawyers for the plaintiffs, to immediately dismiss all pending lawsuits that have been filed against the GAA. There are no remaining issues for the Courts to address and all issues regarding the proposed developments are now resolved. As a result, there is nothing left for the Courts to decide.”

U.S Representative Robert Aderholt has expressed opposition against the rendering plant. In a statement on Friday, he said he looks forward to helping bring other developments to the airport. Here’s his statement:

“I look forward to helping in any way I can from the federal level to bring other types of development to the airport, and also in helping Pilgrims find a more suitable location for their rendering plant.”

We received this statement from Pilgrims Pride Director of Corporate Affairs, Cameron Bruett:

“We are aware of today’s action by the Gadsden Airport Authority and are currently evaluating potential next steps.”

Cameron Bruett

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