Airport opens new window to city

Xavier Smith • May 11, 2017 at 7:35 PM

The new Lebanon Airport terminal received its welcome to the community Thursday and marked an important step in the city’s development.

“I’ve spent at least five minutes with [T.O. Cragwall, Lebanon Airport Commission chairman], so I’ve heard about the history of the Lebanon airfield, what the airfield has done for the city and what impact it has made with our rich history. This terminal behind me – this beautiful building – signifies it will play a key role in the future of Lebanon, as well,” said Sarah Haston, Lebanon economic development director.

The two-story terminal building features the Lebanon Airport Commission’s office, a pilots’ lounge, corporate conference rooms, a quiet room, along with the Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development Board, Class Bravo Air and additional corporate office space.


“This terminal is a testimonial about teamwork – teamwork that has been actively present for many years. In 1957, Arch and Lucille Agee began their term as fixed based operator for the city of Lebanon. They were here for 20 years, and during that 20-year period of time, they worked extremely hard. They demonstrated the usefulness of aviation to our businesses and our industry,” Cragwall said.

Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash said the terminal would be the first stop for many businesses looking to locate to Lebanon and Wilson County.

“There are many other businesses moving into the Lebanon and one of the first places they stop is right here. When someone wants to move to Lebanon, they fly. They fly their private jet or airplane into the airport. They’re going to go into this beautiful building. If they’re looking for property, new business or to take care of the business they have, they’re going to take the elevator to the second floor for the JECDB,” Ash said.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the terminal was a city project that would have big payoffs for the entire county.

“These doors will open up things we’ve never even thought of – things that will be far past our understanding,” Hutto said. “The new players that will walk through these doors now create unlimited possibilities.”

Bill Orellana, Tennessee Department of Transportation aeronautics division director, said the terminal is the front door of the community and speaks volumes about the quality of business that’s conducted by city leaders and personnel.

“We have 79 airports in this state and 74 of them are known as general aviation airports. There probably aren’t any general aviation airports – certainly today – any nicer than what you have here,” he said. “It says, ‘we’re professional here in the community. We’re professional here at the airport. It’s a great place to do business and we welcome you.’”

The Lebanon Municipal Airport is one key subject of the city’s South Hartmann Drive corridor study. Lebanon airport manager Heather Bay said the terminal is one step in preparing for the area’s future.

“We are living in a profoundly adventitious time. In the history of the world, country, state, county or city, population is growing faster than ever before. The rate is unimaginable. We cannot fathom it. The numbers continue to grow. With that being said, this is only one of the many steps that has to be made for the future,” Bay said. 

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