The Greenville Airport Commission has revealed a color rendering for a public park project at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) in South Carolina.
“McLeod Landscape Architects, a local landscape architectural firm, did a tremendous job listening to our vision,” said Joe Frasher, Airport Director at GMU. “They took our vision and added their own ideas to come up with a terrific plan; then they enlisted the services of an illustrator to bring it to life in the form of a 3-D bird’s eye view rendering. It is exciting to finally see our vision on paper.”
“The runways shown on the rendering are not the real ones; they will be in the park! The plan is to have a perimeter “taxiway” around the space for people to use for exercising, a natural amphitheatre for viewing the real runway action and to use for school trip lessons, a picnic pavilion constructed from an antique airplane hangar, a plane fuselage that will serve as the entrance to the park, airplane wings over benches that will serve as shade structures, and of course some play equipment surrounded by lots of open green space,” he said.
“Fewer and fewer kids are growing up to become pilots. As current pilots retire, new talent will not be available to take their place,” said Frasher. “This is a huge problem for the aviation industry and is one of the reasons why we want to provide a place, with no admission charge, for our youth to enjoy and learn about aviation.”
“We think this park will be a perfect addition to Greenville’s growing aviation and transportation oriented community,” stated Hank Brown, owner of Greenville Jet Center. “Locals and city visitors will enjoy it and find it educational. GMU also wants to be able to have school groups out to a place where they can see aviation in action and learn from their experience.”
“At our peak we were seeing 10,000 school aged children annually through our tour program,” according to Rosylin Weston, Vice President of Communications for the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP). “That was before 9/11 and the security changes that followed. One great thing about Upstate South Carolina is that there are several airports, all different, but all play important roles throughout the region. It’s great that GMU is stepping up to help in this important aviation oriented community outreach. We even purchased a GSP logo brick to help fund the park, I’m told that SCTAC, our other Greenville area airport, did so as well. This is just another great example of how we all support each other. There is no competition here.”
“A while back, the Greenville Airport Commission voted to donate the use of its land for the park,” said Brown. “It has taken a while to get to this stage. Now that we finally have the land survey, grading plan, permits to start moving dirt, and especially the beautiful rendering, we can begin fundraising in earnest. We would like to get the grading, fencing, paving and other items donated or provided at cost. Our goal is to have an estimate for the total project cost within a couple of months.
All donations are tax deductible, and all donation amounts are welcome, according to Frasher. “If you donate over $100 you can ‘buy’ a brick engraved with your own message. The brick will be used in the park’s construction so that, in the years to come, you will be able to bring your children and grandchildren to the park to see your name, their names or your message as a permanent legacy of Greenville’s airport park. Bricks can be used to commemorate special occasions, as a holiday gift, to honor or remember a special loved one or to mark the date of your first solo flight.”
The Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn’t rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest FBO in South Carolina, as well as more than 25 other aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the Upstate economy. For more information: GreenvilleDowntownAirport.com or contact Joe Frasher at 864-242-4777
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