The effort to build a municipal airport to replace Hardwick Field really began about 25 years before former Gov. Don Sundquist’s plane landed on the short runway in March 2000.
Former City Commissioner Eddie Cartwright began pushing for a new general aviation airport after he was elected in May 1973. But, the effort never coalesced until 2004 when the Cleveland City Council authorized the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority.
Just shy of nine years later, the Airport Authority cut the ribbon Friday morning to officially open Cleveland Regional Jetport.
The new airport was not cheap. The total cost, as of Jan. 22, was $42.320 million. The state and federal share was $36.376 million. The city’s share was $5.943 million. The cost was split between the federal and state, and local governments through a mix of matching grants ranging in percentages from 50/50 to 95/5 shares.
Terminal building construction and furnishings cost $1.928 million. The state and city each contributed $350,000 for a total of $700,000 for the terminal. The Airport Authority is responsible for raising the remaining $1.228 million through private donations.
Bill Allen was contracted in January 2012 to lead the fundraising campaign. The agreement was for a flat rate of $5,750 a month and expenses up to $500 a month. As of Wednesday, he had billed the Airport Authority $50,202.
So far, the fundraising campaign has generated $290,000 with Bank of Cleveland contributing $75,000; Pioneer Credit, $50,000; Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, $50,000; Olin Corporation, $40,000; SkyRidge Medical Center, $30,000; First Tennessee Bank, $25,000; and FS&G Bank, $20,000, plus computers.
Furnishing the terminal building with chairs, office and outdoor furniture cost $102,331, which was included in the original design budget. Other items include $88,134 for electronics, such as entry keypads, telephones, paging system and audiovisual equipment in the main conference room.
Also included in the price tag was $15,430 for motorized roller shades to cover the windows; $17,236 for appliances and $3,000 for signage.
The Terminal Design Committee has also discussed naming options.
Hardwick Field was to be the primary source of income to pay down the city’s share of the airport. The Airport Authority originally believed the 103-acre Hardwick Field would bring $3 million. However, 40 acres are in the form of easements and is not sellable.
The Airport Authority is left with 61.4 acres comprised of two noncontiguous parcels. The larger contains 52 acres and smaller contains 9.4 acres. The parcels were appraised at $960,000 and $100,000. The value of any buildings was not considered in the appraisal by Richard O. Banks. The total estimated property value was $1.060 million.
Hardwick will be sold sometime in the middle of 2013 by auction. The exact date and type of auction is undetermined.