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Airport training center opens

It may seem like just a building, but the city of Troy’s newest edition at the municipal airport will come to be so much more.

“There’s a lot of talk today about bailouts,” said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. “(But) if you want to stimulate the economy, do what you did in Troy.”

At the Grand Opening of the Troy Airport Training and Operations Center Wednesday, Riley told those gathered, this new facility would bring opportunity like Pike County has never seen before.

“To have a Training and Operations facility like this in Troy is going to expand opportunities for economic development like has never been here,” Riley said.

That’s just the vision Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford had in mind when this project began more than a year ago.

“We were getting to where we felt like we had a great facility,” Lunsford said. “We had to look at what we could do to help our industries have good training. We knew we had to have those facilities to help those industries to grow.”

The facility, which Lunsford said has all the latest equipment and video conferencing technology, will be available to local businesses for training purposes, as well as for communicating with branches globally.

But another important aspect Lunsford said will be the image the new facility provides for Troy.

“When you are driving into Troy from Montgomery, there is a sign welcoming you to Troy,” Lunsford said. “Now, if you are flying in, we have a face we didn’t have before.”

And it’s a face, Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation, said will bring great opportunities for business recruitment.

“It’s extremely important for the future economic development of our town,” Gaylard said. “This facility will be the front door of our community for industry prospects we bring in because it’s so important we present a good first impression.”

Some existing industries said they are already excited about using the training center.

“This will enable first class training of all people,” said Sherrie Casasanta, general manager of aerostructures at Sikorsky. “I’m sure we’ll get plenty of use out of this facility.”