EDITORIAL: New Airport Will be Tremendous Community Asset
September 1, 2009
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  • By Lou Patten
    Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority

    Another major sign of progress is that a new general aviation airport is about to become a reality after decades of work.

    Since construction for the airport should begin in the next few months, the Airport Authority would like to provide regular updates on the progress of this new project.

    We are working diligently to finalize plans for this sorely-needed community asset while preserving the integrity of the Tasso community and alleviating concerns from the airport’s new neighbors.

    A new, safe first-class general aviation airport will be a tremendous asset for Cleveland and Bradley County. It will help the pilots who enjoy recreational flying, local businesses who need the improved efficiency for their products and executives, local colleges and universities who have their alumni and supporters visit and as a tool for economic development.

    Employment nationwide has declined dramatically over the past several months and the competition for new jobs has never been more fierce. If Cleveland and Bradley County are to compete for these jobs of the future, a good safe general aviation airport is essential.

    As Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation Gerald Nicely told us in a recent letter granting approval for funding, “Our general aviation facilities are critical to the economic development of communities across the state.”

    Currently, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is accepting comments for the SWPPP permit. This permit will cover the storm water runoff plans for the new airport site. TDEC will respond to questions and comments they receive. They have already made several recommendations to our environmental consultants to assure safe and proper methods are used to mitigate storm water runoff.

    The Airport Authority is committed to ensuring all environmental concerns are addressed and that the new airport is built to exceed expectations.

    The Bradley County Commission will have a public hearing Monday to reconsider recent action on an airspace zoning ordinance.

    This ordinance will cover potential objects that could penetrate the airspace around the new airport.

    The FAA wants to make sure objects of a specific height above the runway will not cause a hazard for aircraft. This is for the protection of the pilots, their passengers, and people on the ground.

    There has been some confusion about this ordinance. It is for airspace and not land use zoning. This will not impact the area, unless a structure is proposed to be built into the airspace protection zone. Even if someone wants to build something that tall, there is a provision for obtaining a variance.

    We believe this creates a balance between the concerns of area residents and the dire need for an upgraded aviation facility.

    This is the latest information about the new airport for Cleveland and Bradley County. We plan to provide regular updates, and hope they are helpful to our community.

    Date: 2009-08-16