Maury County is an area that offers plenty of positives for businesses, including a strong transportation network. Infrastructure that gives the county a logistical and distribution advantage include direct access to Interstate 65 as well U.S. Highways 412, 43 and 31, along with proximity to newly opened State Route 840. Maury County is only 40 miles from Nashville and just four hours away from key markets such as Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Huntsville, Lexington, Louisville and Memphis.
A key transportation asset in Maury County is the Maury County Regional Airport. The Mount Pleasant-based airfield has a 6,000-foot runway, ideal for larger corporate jets and freight carriers that has recently been resealed and repainted.
"Our fuel islands have been upgraded, and in the spring of 2013 we relocated our taxiway, moving it over about 50 feet to provide easier maneuverability for all of our flight customers," says Paul Turner, manager of Maury County Regional Airport. "We also rent Hertz cars out of our airport, and 40 corporate and individual planes are parked on site."
Turner says the airport averages 150 flights each month, plus it accommodates transient and military aircrafts.
"In early 2013, four Apache helicopters from New York stopped at the airport to refuel on their way to Louisiana for training; then the four helicopters and two additional Blackhawk jets specifically stopped at our airport on their return trip to New York," he says. "All of the pilots said they were so impressed with our hospitality on their way to Louisiana that they returned two weeks later."
Turner adds that the airport serves the needs of area business and industry with charter service for both passengers and freight. Aircraft maintenance is available, along with heated hangars.
"We are open 24 hours, and our terminal is equipped with an on-site conference room for anyone to use," he says. "This airport is a real asset to Maury County."
Beautifying the Boulevard
Adding to Maury County's transportation infrastructure are major plans to beautify and improve James Campbell Boulevard in Columbia, the county's most traveled corridor. The boulevard, designated as U.S. Highway 50, serves as the location of Maury Regional Medical Center, the Walmart Supercenter, Belk, the Columbia Mall, hotels, and numerous businesses and restaurants, so a long-term plan is under way to improve traffic routes while adding to James Campbell's aesthetic charms.
"It's the most valuable stretch of real estate in all of Maury County," says Norman Wright, director of development services for the city of Columbia.
In the next few years, the boulevard will undergo a number of traffic and sidewalk upgrades to improve safety for both motorists and pedestrians, Wright says. He adds that the overall focus of the improvement project is to transform the busy thoroughfare from a highway into a city street.
"Highways are where motorists drive through the area as fast as possible, but city streets are made for much slower stop-and-go traffic and are lined with nice trees, sidewalks and bike lanes," he says. "This is an overall $10 million project that will take time to raise money and complete, but it's a top priority here in Columbia and Maury County.
"The city will build a two-lane road between the parking lots of Walmart and the adjacent Belk department store to alleviate traffic, plus construct some through-streets to Hatcher Lane to provide further access to Walmart," he continues. "Plans for James Campbell Boulevard stretch to the year 2050, but residents will begin seeing initial upgrades very soon."