Public hearing highlights pros, cons of new airport

Randall Higgins

Cleveland Bureau

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Supporters and opponents of a new general aviation airport came to a public hearing Tuesday to record their opinions.

The hearing, held at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, marks the end of an environmental assessment for the Tasso community site. Visitors could look at dozens of information boards and record their comments with a court reporter.

"We are here till all your questions are answered,'' consultant Mark Paslick told the first group to watch a 10-minute video presentation. "If we don't have an answer tonight, we will get it for you. Just leave your name and address.''

He and others from PDC Consultants and a noise expert, as well as members of the city airport authority, were on hand to answer questions.

The public comment extends for the next 10 days. All written comments received will be considered part of the hearing record, according to instructions distributed to visitors. The comments will be forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Comments can be mailed to Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority, 190 Church St. NE., Cleveland, TN, 37364-1519. The other address is Federal Aviation Administration, 2862 Business Park Dr., Building G, Memphis, TN. 38118-1555.

"I wish they wouldn't do it,'' said William Julian as he and his father, Robert, looked at the display boards.

"I'm dead against it,'' the senior Mr. Julian said.

But William Julian said he likely would not leave a recorded comment. "They are going to do it anyway,'' he said.

Tim Viser, a local pilot with an airplane and hangar at Hardwick Field, said Cleveland needs a new and larger runway.

"When I came to Cleveland 16 years ago, I looked especially to see if it had an airport. It's perfectly fine for me, the size it is. But not for the community. I don't think the present airport is a showcase of what Cleveland is,'' he said.

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