Richard’s Disposal appears to have vacated Hawkins Field, moving its fleet of trucks around the corner

Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Crews with Richard’s Disposal were seen packing up boxes and clearing out of Hawkins Field on Sunday.

WLBT spotted a fleet of trucks parked outside of the facility for a distribution company called Franklin Automation Incorporated, which is around the corner from Hawkins Field.

It comes one day before the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority’s deadline to let the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) know when Richard’s Disposal will be leaving the airport.

Weeks ago, the FAA notified JMAA that they had until June 6 to let the administration know when Richard’s would leave the facility as part of a corrective action plan, according to a May 23 letter from the agency.

The plan also must include details on when JMAA will restore Hawkins Field to its original condition, including removing fencing or gating that was installed for the company’s use.

The letter comes just weeks after outgoing CEO Paul Brown asked FAA to visit the general aviation airport before making a final determination on Richard’s use of the facility.

Graham Coffelt, a compliance specialist with FAA, said the biologists with the agency have determined a site visit is not necessary.

Also, he said that Richard’s continued use of the site could put JMAA and the city in violation of airport improvement grant regulations.

“Since (Hawkins) is a co-sponsored airport with JMAA and the city of Jackson, Mississippi, acting as sponsors, both entities are contractually obligated to abide by these grant assurances,” Coffelt wrote. “It is our understanding that RDI is operating under a month-to-month lease that is subordinate to any agreement with the United States government.”

It was not known how many or what grants would be impacted.

Richard’s has been housed at Hawkins Field since late March. The company took over residential garbage collections for the city on April 1.

CEO Brown, who submitted his resignation to JMAA last week, said at the time that had been in talks with the New Orleans-based Richard’s about relocating. However, he could not provide details on if and when that move would happen.

Officials with JMAA nor the mayor’s administration were immediately available for comment.

This is a developing story.

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