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Ready for takeoff

Suffolk Executive Airport manager Kent Marshall could not have said it any better when relaying the news of the airport’s receipt of a Federal Aviation Administration grant.

The grant will allow the airport to upgrade its runway to help it accommodate larger, normally corporate jets.

“Being able to handle larger airplanes takes us up a notch in our economic development efforts,” Marshall said. “When companies come looking at Suffolk, having an airport doesn’t guarantee they’re going to locate here, but not having one guarantees they won’t.”

The first phase of the project will allow the airport to accommodate larger jets, and it plans for improvements to the airport’s storm drainage system and an additional storage and maintenance building.

In a tough economy, the battle for new corporate residents is fierce. And what separates those cities that land new industrial and retail partners from those destined to try to hang onto tax base amidst a shrinking economic base can seem like the smallest detail.

This project, combined with Monday’s announcement Suffolk has been named among the top 100 small cities to live in by Money magazine, helps improve Suffolk’s position in this recruiting battle.

Suffolk already has a strong résumé when it comes to recruiting new businesses. That résumé includes such references as QVC and Target, which both have found the business environment in Suffolk to be solid.

Suffolk also has a strong workforce, one that is willing to put forth the effort to make employers among their industry leaders.

The proximity to quality higher education outlets such as Paul D. Camp Community College, Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University and others, makes for a well-trained workforce and creates an environment for continuing education and additional training if needed.

Tuesday’s announcement may not by itself be the deciding factor for a company locating to Suffolk, but it doesn’t hurt and puts Suffolk in a much stronger recruiting position.