The Myrtle Beach International Airport is narrowing down a few places within the airport to display dedication plaques from as far back as the 1930s, but it first wants to see what memorabilia the public would like to display.
Dedication plaques listing the key individuals who helped build various portions of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which became the Myrtle Beach Jetport and eventually the Myrtle Beach International Airport, are ready to be placed for display in the new airport terminal, which opened in 2013.
The plaques are dated 1938, 1977, 1993, and 1999, and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds.
“Now that we’ve identified and located the plaques, we needed to identify where to put them,” said Kirk Lovell, assistant director of Horry County’s Department of Airports. Lovell said there are three locations being considered: in the baggage claim area; behind the Boardwalk Cafe at the end of the ticket counters; and at the ‘B’ concourse connector on the runway side, which would only be visible to ticketed passengers.
Several Airport Advisory Committee members liked the area behind the Boardwalk Cafe because it opened a large canvass to allow the public to suggest memorabilia, such as pictures of the airport’s evolution or of those listed on the plaques.
“This is a great open area,” Lovell said. “Traffic flows by it, but it’s not going to be as visible as the baggage claim area... We thought of a couple things to display. It would be nice if we showed a picture of what that terminal looked like back then.”
Lovell said it is important to use the display to teach people about those who got the airport to where it is today.
“If you want to educate people who come to the community and not just ourselves, we would need pictures of the people whose names are on the plaques,” Lovell said.
The plaque project is just a small portion of the millions of dollars the airport has spent, and will be spending, to improve itself.
Horry County’s Department of Airports opened its new $118 million, 240,000-square-foot passenger terminal at Myrtle Beach International Airport in spring 2013. About $5.5 million was budgeted in the overall project to address parking issues, the facade of the old terminal and opening more gates, which is currently being worked on.
The department also has a $20 million runway resurfacing project, which is slated to be completed by next spring. The project, funded by $18 million of federal funds and $2 million of local match, will bring the runway up to code on its surfaces, some of which remain from its military airport days.
Jon Bourne, member of the advisory committee, said he would like the airport to consider putting a display in a more visible area.
“Take one of your columns and have somebody put a permanent display around the column,” Bourne said.
But Jason Terreri, assistant director of airports, said the weight of the plaques may make that prohibitive.
“With just the plaques alone, we’re talking a little over 300 pounds to have on display,” Terreri said.
Airport Director Pat Apone said she is interested in seeing what the public has to offer when it comes to the display.
“We’ll look at whatever is out there,” Apone said.