By JIM McCONVILLE
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Plans for a proposed aviation-themed center to be located at the Eastern WV Regional Airport are moving along, according to Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation officials.
“We almost have the total design for the airport project figured out,” said R. Stephen Catlett, executive director of the MBCPRB said at the board meeting Tuesday.
According to Catlett, the proposed center will feature a pavilion designed to resemble the wing of an airplane.
“The whole playground would be designed around aviation – they want to get kids interested in aviation,” Catlett said at a MBCPRB meeting in April. “Everything in the pavilion structure is geared to be aviation-themed.”
The center would consist of a new pavilion that would feature a terrace here and a “viewing area of the runway to watch the planes come in,” Catlett said. “You will walk down around the terrace to a lower level where the play area will be, and to the right will be a parking lot.”
“We may call it an outdoor educational area as opposed to a new park, per se,” Catlett said in April. “An outdoor educational or observation area, however you want to word it.”
Once renderings of the center are complete, Catlett said the next step is to calculate the center costs, then schedule a meeting with Eastern Regional Airport Foundation officials who are interested in funding the project.
“We’ll have a meeting with the foundation to discuss funding and see if we can sell them on the project and get money to get started,” Catlett said. “It’s really coming together.”
According to Catlett, the center will be under Federal Aviation Authority control and maintained and operated by the MBCPRB.
“The Airport Authority cannot have any responsibility of the education center,” Catlett said. “We would do the rentals on the pavilions and would be responsible for garbage and cleanup and make sure the structures are kept in good shape.”
In June, Catlett said opening the educational center may require MBCPRB officials to sign a 4-to-5 year lease with the Airport Authority.
The Airport Authority is ultimately beholden to Federal Aviation Authority, which oversees operations of the nation’s airports, Catlett said.
Staff writer Jim McConville can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 215, or [email protected]
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