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Speakers celebrate teamwork at ceremony to start work on new terminal

At the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for a new passenger terminal at Del Norte County Airport, "cooperation" was the buzzword.

There would have been no new terminal without teamwork, was the consensus among speakers at the event. The shovels forced into dirt yesterday were the result of a decade of planning for a redesigned airport that could hold its own against its modern counterparts in other big cities.

Despite gusty winds, numerous attendees turned out to the ceremony, who were welcomed by Airport Program Manager, Susan Daugherty and Airport Director Matthew Leitner.

During his opening speech, Leitner said, "We're here today as a community. A community comprised of cities, counties, states, and sovereign nations because we believe that when communities build airports, airports build communities. This new terminal will be the conduit to our community. It will showcase the natural majesty of our region that we all know, appreciate and love. It will form the indelible first impressions of countless travelers and adventurers," Leitner said.

Leitner ended his speech with an intergalactic joke. "(The terminal) will be a catalyst for growth, an economic engine, a foundation for untrammeled opportunity until andhellip; we become an intergalactic spaceport."

David Finigan, Chairman of the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority, gave some history of the project during his remarks.

"We started this project with dreams in the year 2000. The environmental review in 2007 resulted in a revisional plan in 2010. The project was too big for one entity. We needed new partners," Finigan said

Finigan agreed that collaborative efforts is what allowed the project to come into fruition. "All of you people that said it wouldn't happenandhellip; pffftt", said Finigan as he gave the thumb down gesture.

John Driscoll, District Representative for U.S. Congressman Huffman reiterated the importance of cooperation.

"Nothing gets done by yourself," he said. .

Driscoll praised the Airport Authority Board of Commissioners for solving immediate problems travelers face.

"The terminal gives a small community a leg up," he said..

Also offering praise for Del Norte's small community was John Wooley, Field Representative for Assemblyman Jim Wood. "This accomplishment shows what everyone can do working together," Wooley said

Brookings residents Walter and Mary Ciceric, along with granddaughter Alec Payne, expressed their excitement for the new terminal. When flying to meet relatives in Fort Lauderdale, they have to drive to either San Francisco or Portland to coordinate flights. The Ciceric's son-in-law, who resides in Florida, learned of the airport groundbreaking ceremony when reading the online edition of The Triplicate.

Macky McCullogh, of McCullogh Construction, won two airplane tickets from PenAir's ticket giveaway drawing.

Immediately following the adjournment of the special session, Leaving on a Jet Plane, soared through the winds from vocalist and acoustic guitar player Steve Berg.

Reach Heidi Graham at hgraham@triplicate.com.

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