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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CUYAHOGA COUNTY AIRPORT

CUYAHOGA COUNTY AIRPORT

The CUYAHOGA COUNTY AIRPORT is the main airport in the county servicing private- and corporate-owned aircraft: it is also a regional center of aviation-related industries. With the increase in private aviation during the 1940s, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners issued general obligation bonds to develop a county airport, which led to the purchase of the former Herrick Airport on Richmond Rd. in Dec. 1946. Although the county encountered severe opposition from neighboring residents in RICHMOND HTS. and HIGHLAND HTS. who sought its relocation elsewhere, the courts ruled against a taxpayer's suit in 1947. With the support of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, the Cleveland Aviation Clubs, and particularly Commissioner Joseph F. Gorman, the Cuyahoga County Airport became a reality on 30 May 1950, when it was officially dedicated.

Despite local opposition, the airport underwent considerable enlargement during the 1950s and 1960s. Funded by county land sales and matching federal funds, runways were extended several times, and hangars were added to house the growing number of planes using the facility. By 1970 the airport had doubled its original size to 585 acres. At that time, its 3 main tenants were the Ohio Aviation Co., the Mercury Aviation Co., and TRW. In 1967 business aviation was responsible for 60% of the airport traffic as more corporate-owned aircraft utilized the facility, and the trend continued in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1984 a $2.5 million office building was completed as part of a new industrial park. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the airport expanded its facilities to include more corporate hangers, various office buildings, including a 4-story complex, an 18-hole golf course called the "Airport Greens," and numerous landing and take-off features.