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
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.