At the public hearing for the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority on February 10, 2009 several county residents had many concerns about mitigating lands outside of Bradley County. The state took notice of these concerns and are now looking at two possible sites (Rolling Hills and Beaty Farm) to keep these wetlands within the county. If both locations are buyable, then it will come down to how much acreage is available at Rolling Hills and Beaty Farm and how much acreage is needed for the mitigation.
Mark Paslick went on to discuss Archaeological Phase III of the airport site. Excavation has begun and he wanted to discuss what should happen if any artifacts happen to be found here. While we do have a history museum here in Cleveland, it will not be for the city to decide where these artifacts will go. A report is drawn up and will be submitted to the Tennessee Historical Commission, who will make the final decision as to where the artifacts will be placed.
Tony Manci proceeded to discuss funding for the airport. There will be federal discretionary monies from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of $3.2 million with a 5% local match and state funding of $4.5 million with a 10% local match. This will bring the total amount to around $8.1 million. Chairwoman of the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority, Lynn DeVault, also made the comment during the meeting that the airport has already received $5 million for water and sewer and another $5 million for hangars, both from the City of Cleveland.
When The People News contacted Mr. Manci following the meeting to get additional information, he stated the above funding is for Phase I of the project only. Although this information is public and was given at a public meeting, Mr. Manci requested that we not divulge these numbers in our report, as they are not set figures and could change at any time throughout the process.
The People News also requested a description for the different phases of the project along with cost estimates for each phase. Mr. Manci said that he was unable to release that information without first discussing it with the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority. No information was found to enable The People News to contact the Airport Authority to request the documents directly from them. There is no direct website, only a page within the City of Cleveland website, and it provides no information in regards to the Airport Authority members or their contact information, and very little information regarding the new airport.
After reviewing funding, Mr. Manci then went on to discuss mass grading, the taxi, and the runway. They are looking at November 2009 as the earliest that mass grading could start and maybe even as late as Spring 2010. Because there is such a large scale area to cover, there will be over two million cubic yards of dirt to be moved. If the mass grading carries over into the Spring of 2010, this would put a delay on the paving of the taxi and runway. Both the taxi and runway are planned for concrete and because of temperature and set time, it would be 2011 before the paving process would begin. Questions then arose about the weight limit of the concrete taxi and runway, which Mark Paslick confirmed to be about 60,000 pounds.
The Airport Authority was also shown six different options for the 18" water lines that will have to be relocated. Options 1, 2, and 3 all ran into the runway and/or the taxi. Option 6 would be located in a flood plain. Rick Hudgens, Operations Specialist in the Aeronautics Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said these options could potentially pose a problem. If something were to go wrong with one of the water lines, none would be easily accessible.
Mr. Hudgens then stated that Options 4 and 5, which are located near the roadway, would be the better of all six options with Option 4 being the most effective.
Over the next couple of months, several meetings will be taking place to discuss final details before construction on the airport can begin. The Airport Authority and PDC Consultants will meet with the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission on May 14, 2009 in Nashville at 10:30AM. A storm water permit will then be applied for and Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC) will then review the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan before approving the permit. After the permit is approved, there will be a public hearing held for residents who wish to voice their concerns.
If all meetings go according to plans and all bidding proves successful, Mr. Manci and Mr. Paslick hope that construction of the airport can begin in August.