Construction, Real Estate, and Travel & Tourism

Airport starts $1.1M renovation

October 25, 2016
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Gerald R. Ford Viewing Park
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport viewing park, 4820 Kraft Ave. SE, opened in 1995. Courtesy GFIA

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has embarked on renovations of one of its most popular attractions.

GFIA broke ground Oct. 24 on an updated viewing park that will allow aviation enthusiasts, families and photographers a great vantage point from which to watch planes come and go.

The $1.12 million renovation will add a pavilion, permanent restrooms, new seating areas, expanded parking spaces and more to the existing venue.

The viewing park is being funded in partnership between GFIA and Cascade Community Foundation. The airport contributed $675,000 to the project, with the balance funded through CCF’s Community is Our Middle Name capital campaign.

Mathison & Mathison Architects designed the new park, and contractor Owen-Ames-Kimball is the general contractor.

Airport officials said guests will have more than double the seating of the old park with new picnic tables and benches, a permanent restroom, new signage and more trash receptacles.

Parking spaces will nearly double from 57 current spaces to 102 in the renovated lot. There also will be four bus parking spaces to accommodate school and tour groups.

The viewing park’s growing popularity led to the decision to update the facilities.

“We have heard over the years how enjoyable this viewing park is to our community, and we are happy to invest in our airport viewing park to make it even better for future generations,” said Phil Johnson, GFIA acting president and CEO.

The park opened at its current location at 4820 Kraft Ave. SE, just north of 52nd Street, in 1995.

Over the years, airport officials said it has become a popular spot for area workers to take a lunch break, or for families to pack a picnic and enjoy a free afternoon spotting planes.

The facility should remain open during construction, but parking will be limited. Should closings occur, they will be posted via GFIA’s social media accounts.

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