A “closed” sign now hangs in the terminal area of the Naples Airport. Crews have shut down the main building to start a massive upgrade, including more room for passengers.
The $7.6 million project will take six months to complete. It’s being paid for exclusively by airport revenues.
Other changes will be made to the lobby and the passenger lounge will be expanded. That work begins Monday.
The timing of the construction is perfect, as season is over for the year, and the renovations should be done just in time for the Thanksgiving travel rush.
The outside of the terminal building is being redesigned to give it a more Southwest Florida feel. Offices are also being upgraded.
Zach Burch, communications manager for the Naples Airport Authority, said passengers will have to use the old commercial terminal for the time being.
“From now until the fall, maybe early November, we’ll be operating out of here. Anyone who had previously gone over to the GA terminal will now have to come over here in terms of, you know, any flights coming in or out. So, if you’re dropping people off or picking people up, or flying in or out as well as people getting rental cars,” he said.
It’s a busy day at the airport. Later Wednesday, the airport will host a virtual open house regarding a recent noise exposure study. There will be an in-person meeting Thursday.
They want to hear from the people who have to hear planes coming and going all day in an effort to show the FAA that something has to change.
One resident who lives nearby said he heard a plane at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday. Another said she’s tired of covering her ears.
“If we’re sitting out on the lanai having dinner, you can’t hear the television. Sometimes I can’t hear phone calls,” said Beverly Baldwin, who has lived in the Kings Lake community for more than 20 years. Kings Lake is about a three-mile drive from the airport.
“It’s loud because they come over my house pretty low.”
WINK News used a decibel reader app on a phone to see how loud it was as planes left Naples Airport. We got readings in the 60s in Baker Park across the street from the airport.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says noise measuring in the 70s may damage hearing over a long period of time.
A draft report from the Naples Airport Authority shows 104 different households filed 363 noise complaints last year.
“That’s what we want to try and mitigate, especially in those areas, but even beyond the identified areas we still want to look at ways we can improve noise abatement as noise quality for anyone that lives around the airport,” Burch said.
Baldwin has a solution she’d like to propose, one that will protect everyone’s hearing: “Keep it as the little airport it started out to be.”
If you can’t take part in Wednesday evening’s meeting between 5:30 and 7:30, don’t worry – you can join the in-person event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Baker Park Sugden-Gomez Center. It’s by appointment only.
To sign up, go to the Fly Naples website.