Clint Johnson, airport manager, said, "Lehman Roberts was the asphalt contractor that paved the runway last summer. Lehman Roberts receive the National Quality in Construction award from the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) for the work that they performed here at the Cleveland Municipal Airport. The city was presented with the award as well.
"During this project the runway and parallel taxiway was extended from 4,000 feet to 5,005 feet, with a complete asphalt overlay of the existing taxiway and runway. We installed a new AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System), and a new electrical system and vault. The electrical system included new LED taxiway lights, new runway lights, new PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicators) lights, installed new windsock and installed an additional windsock, installed new runway and taxiway directional signs, and installed new REIL’s (Runway End Identification Lights)," explained Johnson.
Johnson said now that this project is complete new plans are underway for the airport.
"Our next plan on improving the airport is to extend our east/west taxiway 'Bravo' eastwards towards the fire station and relocating the access road that runs behind the southern end of the airport. We are doing this to create additional space for more hangars. Currently all of our hangars are filled and we have a waiting list of 7 people interested in getting a hangar for their aircraft," he said.
In regards to the future, Johnson explained he is most excited about the ability to allow more people to store airplanes at the airport.
"The thing I am most excited about now, once the taxiway expansion is complete, this will allow us to build not only more hangars but larger hangars as well. With these larger hangars we can then base larger aircraft here, currently we do not have any hangars that can house corporate size aircraft," he said.
At the most recent city board meeting, Johnson proposed purchasing new items for the terminal, which the board approved so the terminal lobby recently got a facelift.
"We just had a covered walkway installed on the rear of the terminal building that extends out to the ramp area. This winter we have also painted the interior of the terminal building and have done some other minor improvements inside to try and make it as nice as possible. We were approved to use the money remaining from the covered walkway to purchase some new tables, chairs, and benches for the terminal lobby area since the furniture we have now is starting to show some wear," he said.
With the upcoming Grammy museum, Johnson said he is hoping to see an impact in traffic and operations at the airport.
"We hope to see an increase in tourist flying in to visit the museum as well as musicians flying in to perform," he added.
Johnson also said, "I am proud to say that Cleveland has one of the nicest small GA (General Aviation) airports in the state of Mississippi and probably in the entire southeast. I have flown into many airports all over and while some are wonderful, there are many that do not come close. We have a nice terminal area where pilots can come and relax and check weather while they wait for their passengers, we also have two great FBO’s (Fixed Based Operators) that provide all types of essential services to aircraft including maintenance and fuel. With our new extended runway we have opened up the doors to aircraft that could previously not fly into Cleveland, so we have definitely seen an increase in corporate jet aircraft. The airport is also home to Delta State University Flight Operations, which is the only 4-year flight training university in the State of Mississippi. I feel that all of these things are what help the Cleveland Municipal Airport compete with other airports in the region."