U.S. Rep. Claudia L. Tenney had only driven by the Watertown International Airport since it became a part of her congressional district in January.
But the Republican lawmaker finally got to visit the airport on Route 12F in the town of Hounsfield on Friday morning just as a $28 million terminal expansion is about to begin later this year.
Joined by local state lawmakers and county legislators, she toured the airport facilities and found out about significant projects either recently completed or planned for the airport in the years to come.
“It’s very impressive what I saw here today,” she said afterward during a news conference in the Fixed Base Operator, an area dedicated for businesses.
Last year, the airport obtained $28 million in state funding to double the size of the current 20,000-square-foot terminal and include a restaurant, two jet ways and other amenities that the airport doesn’t have now. The new terminal is slated to open in 2025.
The tour also included a $6 million aircraft rescue and fire fighting facility and a new $1.5 million air ambulance hangar.
Rep. Tenney pointed out that it’s a good fortune to have a regional airport for a size of a community such as Watertown, when the Utica/Rome area no longer has one.
The airport, she said, is an important community asset because it brings in tax revenues, attracts visitors to the community and has strong ties to Fort Drum.
Three members of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators and State Sen. Mark C. Walczyk and Assemblyman Scott A. Gray also went along on the tour to talk about the airport and its bright future.
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