Mostly Vacant Wilmington Air Park Begins Ad Campaign

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DHl laid off about 9,500 workers when it left the Wilmington Air Park in 2008.(Photo: Flickr)
DHl laid off about 9,500 workers when it left the Wilmington Air Park in 2008.(Photo: Flickr)

Officials running the Wilmington Air Park say they have reason to be optimistic as they ramp up marketing efforts to fill the still mostly vacant space.

In June it will be three years since the Clinton County Port Authority has taken donation of 1,500 acres, two fully functioning commercial runways, 150 acres of tarmac and 3-million square feet of building space. Thousands of jobs vanished when DHL shut down domestic operations there.

Now the Wilmington Air Park is starting an aggressive marketing campaign with a new website and plans for ad placement and trade show visits.

Port Authority Executive Director Kevin Carver says he has seen more activity in the past month than it saw all of last year, recently responding to eight or nine leads.

“We’re open for business. We are optimistic. It feels to us like the economy is starting to take a turn, albeit a small turn. But, it feels like it’s starting to turn to us and we believe that we’re ready and uniquely positioned to take advantage of opportunity as they arise.” Says Carver.

Carver adds the Air Force Research Lab continues to test unmanned drones at the Air Park. It may eventually become a national drone test center if the FAA chooses it.

A new maintenance and repair hangar will be finished in about a year, creating 250 jobs and Air Transport Services Group is moving one of its administrative offices from Arkansas. That will create an additional 65 to 80 jobs, some local.

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