Donations help pay for Jetport terminal
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jul 06, 2014 | 910 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Donations have yet to meet the shortfall between cost to build the Cleveland Regional Jetport Terminal building and the funds given to the project by the state.

A state grant of $350,000, requiring a local match of the same, brought the project budget to $700,000.

The Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority decided to build beyond the amount covered by the state grant to a space that would attract pilots and corporate aircraft to choose Cleveland over other airports it could use, Chair Lou Patten said.

On choosing what to include in the terminal building, the airport authority looked at several other municipal airports, did research and hired a consultant.

“We tried to make it where it would meet the needs of the community,” Patten said.

As a part of this desire, the board wanted to have space available for corporate meetings. The meeting rooms at the terminal building have allowed corporations with a Bradley County presence to fly in executives and meet right at the airport.

“The pilots’ lounge is a real key,” Patten said. “They need a place to rest while the people they are flying are doing business.”

Patten said the board researched options and chose what it thought was best to make the space appealing.

Additional touches, like the water features, were the suggestion of a consultant.

“I don’t think it is extravagant, but I do think it is nice,” Patten said.

The city borrowed $1.2 million through bonds to complete the projects with the understanding that the balance would be paid through fundraising efforts.

Funds from private donors were able to pay the required $90,224 for debt service on the bonds last year, according to City Manager Janice Casteel.

Patten said the CMAA was “still looking at opportunities to generate some additional funding.”

Some of these efforts include leasing advertising space on television monitors in the lower floor of the terminal building. Revenue from renting meeting space within the terminal is also generating some revenue.

Private and corporate donations were asked for the project to cover building beyond what the grant would fund.

By February, $311,400 had been pledged by donors and $145,000 had been collected. Jetport Manager of Operations Mark Fidler said revenue from leasing meeting space and allowing Gotham Dream Cars to hold an event have added to this total.

Gotham brought $7,000 toward the total. Video advertising has already brought in $5,000, according to Fidler.

Leasing the conference room and terminal building has generated $5,370. Fidler said the facility’s conference rooms have meetings scheduled through November, which will bring in addition revenue.

Another $73,000 in donations has also been designated toward paying off the terminal construction.

Casteel said much of the other airport construction was covered by a grant available from the federal fuel tax. Some of these grants only required a 10 percent match. Funds from the recent sale of the old Hardwick Field Airport will go toward covering this local match, not toward the terminal.

Fuel sales have consistently been more than expected since the jetport opened. Corporate aircraft fly in and out of the jetport on a daily basis.