Since October of 2019, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) has been working on a new Master Plan for the airport. CLE is glad to be at the phase where they have begun working with stakeholders and the public to create a bright future for the airport.
“We are working hard to obtain feedback from everyone who uses and works at CLE,” said Airport Director Robert Kennedy. “This process does not work if we do not acquire the valuable opinions and experiences of our airport guests.”
Public engagement was delayed in the spring after the emergence of the global Covid pandemic and the team had to adapt how to conduct the necessary meetings.
By late summer, the meetings were underway with numerous groups who utilize or represent guests who use CLE. Those groups included: Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), Cleveland City Council, Destination Cleveland and other tourism groups, Cuyahoga County officials, American Society of Travel Agents, the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), Team NEO, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA), Global Cleveland, Ohio Aviation Association, Ohio Valley Business Travelers Association, the Cleveland Freight Association and International Chambers of Commerce representatives.
On September 3rd, CLE held their first public meeting virtually to gather public feedback as well. The event brought over 100 guests together virtually to learn about the Master Plan process and ask questions about the airport. The next master plan public meeting will also be virtual and is scheduled on Wednesday, October 14 at 6pm.
CLE is grateful for the participation of so many valued groups and members of the public. As the Master Plan moves forward, there will be more opportunities for feedback. Anyone who cannot attend the virtual meetings may learn more about the process and give feedback on the Master Plan’s website clevelandairportmasterplan.com.
Work continues on the Master Plan to complete the Facility Requirements task, finalize the Investigation Phase, and begin work in the Solutions Phase.
Facility Requirements are based upon levels of demand identified by the forecasts but are not tied to a specific year. Developing Facility Requirements has been made more challenging by the unprecedented changes in the aviation industry posed by COVID-19 and unknowns about the potential time for recovery to 2019 levels, a peak year for the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Another COVID-19 impact is identifying how to conduct Public Information Workshops in a safe and healthy environment. Normally, these workshops are in-person meetings where airport staff and consultants can present information, have one-on-one conversations with attendees, and solicit input from participants through verbal comments made at the meeting and from written comments left behind or forwarded later on.
CLE will now be going forward with virtual Public Information Workshops until meetings can once again be held in person. Production of the first workshop is underway. A format is being finalized that will show a virtual meeting room with videos, virtual walk-around, and conclude with a live question & answer period. Like in-person meetings, airport staff and consultants will be soliciting information from participants through the live question & answer period and from a comment portal where comments and questions can be submitted for response from the Master Plan team. This first Public Information Workshop is anticipated to be held no later than mid-September 2020.
NOTICE: The CLE Master Plan Public Meeting schedule implementation has been delayed due to concerns over the coronavirus. The public meeting schedule will be added at a future date to be determined.
Making significant progress on the Master Plan Study, CLE, in conjunction with RS&H, has achieved near completion of the investigative phase known as existing conditions. The data collected during this step is critical to support the subsequent phases of the study.
RS&H has finished developing the proposed forecasts of activity for CLE. An accurate prediction of activity in five, ten, and twenty year horizons is necessary to anticipate future needs of the airport. A single line is often used to show anticipated growth. However, due to the cyclical nature of the economy which may influence growth, forecasts are developed with low, base, and high case scenarios. Among the metrics are enplanements, or passengers boarding aircraft domestically and internationally, and the number of scheduled departures. The proposed forecast will be presented to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval.
Once a consensus on expected growth is established, alternative solutions to accommodate the activity may be developed. CLE and RS&H has taken primary steps in developing these alternatives with high-level brainstorming sessions based on the proposed forecasts. Once an established set of alternatives is determined, they will be share with the general public for consideration.
The Master Plan Study was underway in late-fall 2019. The City of Cleveland has worked with RS&H to conduct various meetings to successfully document what the airport is today, known as “existing conditions.” During this phase, RS&H held multiple internal stakeholder meetings to gather “as-is” information. Additionally, RS&H led two SWOT analysis sessions and a visioning session with Cleveland City Hall to build understanding and direction of the plan.
Additionally, RS&H will be conducting more meetings with external airport stakeholders, the public and city officials while simultaneously working on the aviation forecasts. Once all data has been reviewed, work on the alternatives will begin. These alternatives will offer solutions to airport issues and potential issues identified in the documentation of existing conditions and forecasting phases.
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