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Posted: 9:44 p.m. Thursday, June 21, 2012
By Carl Willis
PAULDING COUNTY, Ga.-- —
An airport wrecked by a tornado in March reached an important milestone in its recovery Thursday. A tornado damaged 22 planes, destroyed hangars and damaged the roof of the main terminal at the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport on March 3. "The progress that has been made came from a lot of volunteers. That's the exciting part about what happened: the cleanup," said Paulding County Commission Chairman David Austin. On Thursday, a paid crew put the finishing touches on the main terminal when they replaced windows that were shattered by flying debris. "Once they get that glass replaced, this building will be pretty much be back as it was prior to the tornado," said Airport Director Blake Swafford. Over the past few months, crews have been working to repair the main terminal's metal roof and replace ceiling tiles and the sheet rock on the walls. The airfield reopened a little over a week after the tornado. Still, there's plenty of work left to be done to repair the hangars. "All the metal and doors, everything had to be taken off the building, stripped all the way down to the structural steel," said Swafford. The director said full reconstruction of the hangars needs to happen soon. Without it intact, hardly anyone is paying rent to store their planes, or fuel up. With the major center of operations back to normal, Swafford said the airport is just a few steps from being complete. "Another couple of months, we'll hopefully have the whole thing put back together," he said. "The box hangar will be coming out of the ground soon, and there's already a company waiting to move from Michigan to be in that hangar," said Austin.
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