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11/27/2018 11:43:00 AM
Evansville Regional Airport's fresh new look celebrated
Travelers use the new Berry Global Business Lounge area as they wait for their flights to begin boarding at Evansville Regional Airport, Monday afternoon, Nov. 26, 2018. It is open to the public and features several small conference rooms to accommodate travelers. Staff photo by Sam Owens
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Travelers use the new Berry Global Business Lounge area as they wait for their flights to begin boarding at Evansville Regional Airport, Monday afternoon, Nov. 26, 2018. It is open to the public and features several small conference rooms to accommodate travelers. Staff photo by Sam Owens

John T, Martin, Evansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE — Evansville Regional Airport didn't build a new terminal, but all the trappings of $20 million in renovations are giving the old one a much different feel.

Local and state dignitaries Monday celebrated the project's near-completion and the modernized look of Evansville's "front door."

"It's great what you can do when everybody pulls in the same direction," said Doug Joest, who is retiring as the airport's executive director. Nate Hahn has been hired by the airport board to take Joest's place.

A few of the upgrades:

  • The new TSA security line, which consolidated the two lines previously in use, opened in July and has brought PreCheck to Evansville for the first time.
  • The new restaurant and bar is known as Iron Compass. Although it is behind the security checkpoint, food items may be bought in front of the security checkpoint by using a touchscreen. Iron Compass also has a small gift shop.
  • Passenger amenities for passengers include spacious Wi-Fi lounge, a children's play area, a pet care area and a nursing room and far more device-charging stations.
  • Restrooms are updated, and carpeting and signage is new. Digital flight information boards throughout the terminal resemble those seen at larger airports. 
  • The parking lot isn't quite done yet, but ramps have replaced steps, and canopies are being erected above the main drop-off and pick-up point and over a path leading from the terminal to the rental car lot.

The $20 million cost included $5 million from the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative program, which officials said is supporting projects that strengthen Hoosier communities.

"That's exactly what you have done here," said Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. "I know many stakeholders have worked hard on this project so you can have an airport that reflects your city. That makes the city better and its quality of life here better. It's what Regional Cities was meant to do."

By the end of 2018, the airport will have seen more than 230,000 people board planes, up from 220,000 in 2017. The airport's annual economic impact is more than $900 million. 

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke noted the airport's uptick in flight offerings in recent years, "and we need to remember to use them. If we don't use them, we lose them to other communities."

Vanderburgh County Commissioners President Bruce Ungethiem said the terminal's makeover will give visitors "a good first impression of Evansville and the community."

Greg Wathen, president of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, said the renovation "helps change the perception of our region while also meeting the needs of the 21st Century traveler." 

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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