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Official’s farm close to airport

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Evans says her support is unrelated

By Cindy Simpson

One of Rockwood Airports biggest supporters believes the facility could be an economic boon for the community.
The airport’s success could be an economic success for her family, as well, but Councilwoman Peggy Evans said that hasn’t crossed her mind when fighting for investment in the airport.
More than 500 acres of a Cumberland County farm not far from the airport belong to the Tom Evans family, including his widow, Peggy Evans, and their children.
Evans contends her family has no interest in selling the farm or in any financial gain a bustling airport might bring.
“I’m not pushing it because we have a family farm out there,” she said. “A lot of people in town have farms up there.”
Evans said her support for the airport began years ago, in the 1960s, as an educator flying students from the airport on Southern Airlines.
“Back in the early ’60s, they were trying to build up people flying out of the airport. This has been going on for a long time,” she said.
Evans said businesses in Rockwood were looking to grow and donated money to help encourage passenger travel at the airport.
More recently, Evans has staunchly backed raising $75,000 to match $750,000 in aviation funds for the airport.
She believes the airport could use the funds to build T-hangers, which combine shelter for aircraft with storage space, and other improvements at the airport that might draw business or industry to the area.  
Evans said the location is ideal for a distribution hub for companies such as Fed-Ex.
Council members Bill Thompson and Harold Ishman have been vocal at meetings that they believe the city should invest in the airport.
Thompson, in particular, believes the city should try to raise the funds to match $750,000.
Councilman Dudley Evans, however, is skeptical of the probability of Peggy Evans’ vision for the airport.
He said the city would be better off seeking to make the location an aviation museum.