Solar panels

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Solar panels likely at McCollum airport
COBB COUNTY — County commissioners Tuesday night are expected to approve the installation of solar panels at Cobb County Airport-McCollum Field and could approve consolidating the county’s economic development department with the Chamber of Commerce.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a $1.5 million project funded by state and federal grants that will install solar panels on the roof of two T-Hangar buildings at McCollum Field. The project, which will generate 135 kilowatts of energy, will become the largest renewable energy installation on any general aviation airport in the Southeast, Airport Manager Karl Von Hagel said.

“This is certainly a unique project, but really reflects a growing trend in saving energy and benefiting the environment,” Von Hagel said. “We have been told that this system will prevent over 7 million pounds of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere over 25 years. That’s equal to eliminating 7.2 million miles of automobile driving.”

Von Hagel said the owner of the hangars, Atlanta Northside Aviation, Inc., has been working on getting the grants for almost a year, while the county has been working with the tenant on the project for about three months. Von Hagel said the project is expected to begin in March and must be completed within six months. He said air traffic at the airport would not be affected by the construction.

The board could also approve the consolidation of the county’s economic development department with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. County spokesman Robert Quigley said, if approved, county and chamber officials would negotiate until October the details of the consolidation, such as staff, salaries and location of the office. At that time, the county will have a better idea of what next year’s budget will allow, Quigley said.

Quigley said Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, and the city of Atlanta currently join economic development efforts with their chambers, and that Cobb used to work jointly with the chamber before splitting off several years ago.

The board is also set to approve a special election to be conducted July 20. Should County Chairman Sam Olens resign to run for the state attorney general on March 30, and Commissioner Tim Lee resign mid-April to run for the vacated chairman seat, the July election would determine who the next county chairman would be. Lee is currently running for the position unopposed.

A final hearing for the Powers Ferry Master Plan will also take place, at which time the board could adopt or deny the plan. Quigley said the county uses master plans, such as this one, as a guideline for future transportation and development plans in their respective areas.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. The board will also have a workshop on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., followed by the zoning hearing makeup at 2 p.m.

Olens, Lee and Commissioner Bob Ott returned from their five-day trip to South Korea on Thursday.

Cobb County International Airport - McCollum Field

Cobb County International Airport

McCollum Field is owned by Cobb County, operated by the County Department of Transportation characterizing it as a municipal airport. It is managed by a full-time, professional airport manager. The airport employs almost 185 people, and had an annual economic impact of more than $47 million to the local economy in 2002.

1723 McCollum Pkwy NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144