|McDade Terminal - Truly A Family Affair|
|(News Article from The Times-Tribune, Jeff Sonderman - Staff Writer, May 21, 2006)|
Thanks to land donated by John McDade and purchased from others, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport opened June 1, 1947. It's construction cost was about $8 million, equivalent to more than $75 million in today's dollars. There was no money left for a fancy terminal building, however.
Twelve years later, in 1959, the second terminal building opened at a cost of more than $2 million, a value of more than $12.7 million today. That terminal served well for the next 47 years, aided by renovations in 1982 and 1991.
As years wore on, however, it became obvious that the antiquated brick building needed a replacement. By then Joseph McDade was a well-tenured member of the U.S. House of Representatives and offered to help the Airport in his own way.
As he did so, he recalled his father's dedication to the airport. "My father was a very civic-minded fellow," Mr. McDade said. "He was very much in favor of coming into the new world."
A generation after his father helped create the Airport, Mr. McDade had the chance to help renew it. "The question was, what could we do to bring the Airport into the new world?" said Mr. McDade. The answer was a new terminal, as well as parking facilities and roadways.
Mr. McDade fought for several years to get money from federal budgets and grants, and to keep the goal alive.
In all, $48.7 million of federal funds were spent on the $80 million project, including the terminal, parking garage and other renovations. It was worth it, he said, because he shared his father's belief that a strong airport is key to any community.
"It can be a critical leg in any economy," Mr. McDade said. "If you can begin to build a new one, you can express some of the attitude of the community. I thought that was worth doing."