Downstairs, a Boy Scouts of America adult leadership group gathered.
Outside, on the apron next to the terminal building, a large Tennessee government aircraft had just parked. The delegation of state officials had flown into Cleveland for a meeting at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce to discuss the future of our veterans home here.
Meanwhile, as the sun was going down, a construction crew was finishing their day on the roof of a nearly finished, large hangar.
Nearby, a plane was being towed into another new hangar.
And after dark, the lights of a small jet could be seen moving down the runway and into the night sky.
An evening like that is what our city's residents, employees and pilots have been dreaming about and working hard to achieve for well over 20 years.
A big share of the "thanks" for what has already been done goes to our Cleveland Airport Authority members — Lynn DeVault, Lou Patten, Verrill Norwood, Mike McCoy and LeRoy Rymer.
Our Regional Jetport officially opened Jan. 25 of this year. Already, some of our largest corporate citizens, including Whirlpool and Merck, have used it, touring their executives from across the nation to special meetings here in Cleveland. It’s generating traffic and adding to our economy with each flight in and out of this facility.
During the first 10 months, some of our civic clubs, as well as business and industry groups, have already discovered the Jetport is a good venue for their gatherings, too. Its well-planned kitchen/catering/conference area makes it easy and convenient for meetings to be held.
All of this is part of the original purpose for this new and developing addition to our city's public services. Mark Fidler, director of Jetport operations, has noted the purpose of our Regional Jetport is to "... serve the aviation public with the best technology and safest facilities possible."
He made a good point when he said, "Our new Jetport is doing much, much more. It is also here to serve Cleveland's citizens, even those who may never begin a trip from its runway. It is designed to grow as Cleveland grows."
The work at the airport is not done. Hangar space continues to be built for Cleveland-based and transient aircraft.
In the coming weeks, it will be time to begin thinking about how to mark the first anniversary of our city's latest aviation milestone. Its planning, building, opening and usage to date proves once again that Cleveland, Tennessee is indeed “The City With Spirit!”