Skip to Content

Columbia Regional Airport management transitions to economic development department

For years the Columbia Regional Airport has been managed by the Public Works Department. But come Oct. 1, that will change.

“I think movement from public works to economic development really has the potential to continue to enhance the work that’s been done over the past few years at the airport to bring new destinations and airlines in,” Columbia’s community relations specialist, Steven Sapp, said.

Some of that work includes passing Proposition One, a 1 percentage point increase in the hotel tax to pay for a new airport terminal.

“Hopefully that new airport terminal will be catalytic for Columbia’s economy and it’s not just an asset of public works,” Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said. “It’s really an economic development tool so that’s why I thought it would be important for our economic development manager to take responsibility for that tool and really use it as a way to help build Columbia’s economy, and really use that front porch of Columbia in a way that is new and innovative over what we’ve done in the past.”

Much of the decision to transition airport management came after last year’s arrival of Stacey Button, the current present of Regional Economic Development Inc. or REDI.

“Part of her responsibilities in her previous job was not just directing economic development but managing the airport, parks and trails,” Treece said. “She was able to envelope all those amenities in how her previous employer marketed their city and it was a successful model we wanted to emulate in Columbia.”

“She brings a deep pool of knowledge in bringing all the right players together and working together,” Sapp said of Button.

The arrival of Tamara Pitts as the new airport manager also puts the leadership in place to make Columbia’s “front porch” marketable for new flights or airlines.

“I think [they bring a] more intimate knowledge of the airport and of the specific route options that may exist or the space options that may exist,” Treece said. “It [would] not only improve the passengers experience coming in but also use it as an economic development tool and include that in Columbia’s application and pursuit of businesses.”

The Airport Advisory Board will see a shake up as a result of the transition.

The current board will be dissolved for the most part and while most of the same positions will be accounted for on the new board, other positions will be added to reflect the airport’s new place in economic development.

The city council is expected to take up the issue at its next meeting, but Treece is confident the change will pass before Oct. 1.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content