Cedar Rapids Airport Commission Adopts Special Events Policy

By George Ford, Reporter

Air Force One departs from the Eastern Iowa Airport after President Barack Obama spoke about the rising costs of higher education Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at the University of Iowa Field House in Iowa City, Iowa. The President, who was on a three campus tour, was pushing to keep interest rates low on a widely used loan program aimed at low-income and middle-class students. (Brian Ray/Pool Photo)

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — With a large number of political rallies and presidential visits this fall, The Eastern Iowa Airport became a very busy place accommodating candidates and travelers while also adhering to federal security regulations.

The Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Monday approved a special events policy that spells out what is expected of anyone wanting to host an event at the airport. The six-page policy sets fees, liability insurance requirements and restrictions on the use of facilities (hours of activities, volume of music/noise generated, number and placement of speakers, and lighting).

Airport Director Tim Bradshaw said the new policy is part of an overall goal to update the airport's written guidelines and procedures.

"In September, the airport commission adopted our rules and regulations," Bradshaw said. "Currently, we are rewriting our minimum standards for commercial operators. We're also going to update our personnel policy manual.

"This year, we had quite a few events that convinced us we needed to have these things in written form so everyone knows what's going on and what to expect."

Bradshaw, responding to questions from members of the airport commission, said there have been problems with trash, damage to airport property and lighting concerns. He said a two-day visit by a World War II-vintage bomber left oil stains on the airport's tarmac.

Airport Marketing Director Heather Wilson said a written policy also makes it easier to seek reimbursement for personnel costs and other expenses incurred by the airport. Wilson cited a request by a company filing a fast-food commercial at the airport as the kind of activity that requires additional work for airport personnel escorting actors and crew.

Bradshaw said presidential visits require an "all hands on deck" response from the airport's police, fire and rescue department.

"We want people to consider the airport for special events, but we have federal security guidelines that we must enforce," he said. "We believe this new policy will provide us with a consistent way of handling special events."

Airports in the regional have adopted similar policies. Wilson said airport staff attempted to use the city of Cedar Rapids special events policy as a guideline, but it primarily deals with events at public parks.

"We have very specific safety and security issues at the airport that the city's policy does not address," she said.

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