published Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Construction of new hangars under way at Cleveland Regional Jetport

Two crewmen attach metal roof beams to the framework of a community aircraft hangar under construction at the Cleveland Regional Jetport. Two hangars with space for 10 aircraft each are expected to be completed by December.
Two crewmen attach metal roof beams to the framework of a community aircraft hangar under construction at the Cleveland Regional Jetport. Two hangars with space for 10 aircraft each are expected to be completed by December.
Photo by Paul Leach.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Two communal aircraft hangars are under construction at the new Cleveland Regional Jetport, signaling the last days of occupancy at Hardwick Field, Cleveland's first airport.

Late last week airport officials discussed the progress of hangar projects and disposition plans for Hardwick Field.

"It's amazing," said Mark Fidler, director of operations at the Cleveland Regional Jetport, about the hangar construction. "Yesterday, all this steel came out of the ground."

Each hangar -- scheduled to be completed by early December -- will hold 10 aircraft, he said.

A massive hangar associated with Jones Airways LLC also is scheduled to be finished in December, said Lynn DeVault, secretary/treasurer of the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority.

Airport officials are making plans to show off the facility and the new hangars with an open house fly-in sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

With the completion of the new hangars, the remaining aircraft tenants at Hardwick Field will be able to transition to the Cleveland Regional Jetport.

Only 12 aircraft remain at the old field, said Verill Norwood, vice chairman of the airport panel. All aircraft must be removed from Hardwick Field by Dec. 31, he said.

Hardwick Field, established in 1955 and adjacent to North Lee Highway, has been dying slowly since the opening of the Cleveland Regional Jetport on Dry Valley Road in January. All visiting aircraft to Cleveland have been directed to the jetport since that time, and night operations ended for Hardwick in September. The facility is unkempt and has assumed a ghost-town feel.

Norwood said an environmental study of the field is in the final stages of review by state and federal officials. The study, which is required to sell the land, came back with a clean report, he said.

An appraisal of the site also is nearing completion, Norwood said. Once that is done, he said, the airport panel will need to decide whether to sell parcels of the old airfield property through sealed bids or auction.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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