published Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Swan song expected for Cleveland's Hardwick Field

Cole Newman, nearly 4-year-old son of Taylor Newman the contract operator of Cleveland's Hardwick Field, shows off one of the airplanes used for rides over town during Saturday's open house. Lesley and Dana Livingston wait for the flight with their daughters Faith and Abby.
Cole Newman, nearly 4-year-old son of Taylor Newman the contract operator of Cleveland's Hardwick Field, shows off one of the airplanes used for rides over town during Saturday's open house. Lesley and Dana Livingston wait for the flight with their daughters Faith and Abby.
Photo by Randall Higgins.

ABOUT HARDWICK FIELD

1950s: City purchases private airfield for $10,000

1959: Airstrip extended to 3,300 feet and paved

1960s: Named for C.L. Hardwick, industrialist and political figure

2005: Major resurfacing with state grant and local funds

ABOUT CLEVELAND REGIONAL JETPORT

2004: City creates Municipal Airport Authority

2008: Land acquisition completed at Tasso site

2009: Site work begins

2012: New airport scheduled to be completed

Source: City of Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Pilots and people who just want to see Cleveland from the air took part Saturday in what's likely the last open house at Hardwick Field.

The 60-year-old airport is scheduled to be replaced late in the year by the new Cleveland Regional Jetport.

"We get a fair amount of industrial traffic here these days," said Crystal Air owner Taylor Newman. Crystal Air has a contract as the fixed base operator at Hardwick Field and also operates airports in Dalton, Sewanee and other airports in the Chattanooga region.

Aerial tours over Cleveland during the open house showed one reason why. The route included a birds-eye look at Wacker Chemical, under construction in the north end of Bradley County.

The Livingston family -- Dana, wife Lesley, and daughters Faith and Abby -- were among the first to fly Saturday.

They had never been to the open house before, but, Lesley Livingston said, "I ran into Taylor at Chick-fil-A."

The Griffith family, Tracy and husband Eric, and kids Hailey and Ben, boarded the same flight.

"Ben has been wanting to get on an airplane," Tracy Griffith said.

Each year a few people come back from those aerial tours and decide to take flying lessons, Newman said.

The new jetport is in the Tasso community just northeast of Hardwick Field.

The Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority must decide now what to do with the 50-plus acres at Hardwick Field.

The authority is required to sell the field and use the money to match a federal and state grant used at the new site, but it hasn't found a buyer yet.

The Cleveland Board of Education has turned down the site, saying the location and environmental conditions make it unsuitable and too expensive for a future school location.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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