The Newport Airport Commission offered to host the meeting in their newly opened airport terminal of which an 80 percent grant from the commissioners helped fund the project, according to Newport Airport Commission Chairman James McLarty III.
"We thought it was a special way to honor them for their special help with the new terminal," McLarty stated following the meeting.
"We applied for - and received - an 80 percent grant for the new terminal building. We used local funds to come up with the rest of the costs but without their help there would be no new terminal."
Commissioners took a tour of the facility and were "pleased with what they saw," McLarty noted.
The State Department of Aeronautics is appointed by the governor and is responsible for "parceling out grant money to local airports for improvements."
"Since we received our grant, their revenues - like the rest of the economy - has slowed down," McLarty explained. "We were lucky we aggressively pushed and got in on the front end so that we could get this new terminal."
While in Newport, the Commissioners discussed nine grant applications on behalf of state airports totaling $224,802.60.
On hand for the meeting were Director John Knight; Assistant Director Jerry Chism; Airport Engineer, Richard Mills; Executive Assistant, McCall Harriman; as well as commissioners, Joe Jett of Success; Gene Jines of Little Rock; Marion Burton of Little Rock; David Glover of Tillar; Clark Mason of Little Rock; William Morgan of Paragould; and, William McKenzie of Fayetteville.
John Moran of the Governor's office and Meredith Rebsamen of the Attorney General's office were also in attendance with Newport Mayor David Stewart and Newport Economic Development Commission Executive Director Jon Chadwell, in addition to Commissioners of the Newport Airport Commission, Joe Taylor, Jr.; Frank Plegge; Randy Ramsey; and, Ernest Evans.
"We are trying to get the word out, regionally and state-wide, about our new terminal and hope to create new contacts and increase fuel stops and other business," McLarty added.