Back Off With The Smokes

October 1, 2007
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CASCADE — Beginning today, visitors to Gerald R. Ford International Airport won’t have to butt out completely, but before they light up, they’ll have to move at least 10 feet from terminal building entrances, windows and ventilation systems, as well as from worksites and public spaces where smoking is prohibited.

The airport’s smoking policy was developed in 1994 and revised in 1998 and 2005. The latest revision is in line with the new City of Grand Rapids Clean Indoor Air Ordinance. GFIA is situated in Cascade Township, but the terminal building is considered part of Grand Rapids.

“The reason that is, is that back when Cascade Township was dry, the airport restaurant was looking to get a liquor license, so there was an annexation that occurred to allow that,” explained airport spokesman Bruce Schedlbauer. “Those of us here pay city income tax and so forth.”

The policy revision also adds airport-owned and airport-leased vehicles to the list of places where smoking is prohibited. The Kent County Aeronautics Board approved the changes Wednesday.

The board also approved a contract with Austin/AECOM for the replacement of existing bag screening devices with an in-line system and the relocation of ticket counters to the west end of the terminal. The airport won’t proceed on the $30 million project until the Transportation Security Administration has supplied the funding for it, said Facilities Director Thomas Ecklund. Ecklund said the initial phase of the project will include a TSA funding application, which staff expects to submit shortly after the first of the year.

The airport’s relocation plan has to be reviewed by TSA to assure it’s compatible with TSA’s new planning guidance and design standards, which are supposed to be issued any day now, said Aeronautics Director James Koslosky. He said the airport probably won’t move ahead with construction until 2010 or 2011.

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