February 14, 2011
CONCORD, N.C. —Charlotte-Douglas International isn’t the only airport in the area getting ready for the Democratic National Convention in 2012. A few miles away in Concord, preparation for the event took off immediately.
“Within two hours after the announcement, we had talked to every airport except Denver International as to what impact they had,” said Richard Lewis, aviation director at Concord Regional Airport.
Lewis said the runway won’t need any work, thanks to improvements already made over the years. He said there could be renovations to the terminal or they may need to add a screening area.
From talking with airports in the Denver area, Lewis said he learned the biggest focus must be on security.
“They said they were crawling all over so we need to start now to look at what we need to do working the TSA, working with our own police department and Secret Service,” said Lewis.
Paying for the enhancements may prove to be a challenge.
Concord Regional is a commercial airport but “for funding we’re a general aviation airport and we are not eligible for security or safety money,” said Lewis.
The airport may be able to tap into public funds or grants from the TSA, Department of Homeland Security and the city of Concord. Lewis said he wants to have any major improvements off the ground and completed in the next 12 months.
“We will be ready to put the best foot forward of Concord,” said Lewis.
Lewis has invited the airport manager from Centennial Airport, a general aviation facility in Denver, to come to Concord and brief his staff on their experience with the DNC in 2008 and what they should expect going forward.