In 2006, Jefferson County purchased the Watertown International Airport from the city of Watertown for just $1.
“This place was poorly maintained when we took it over. That's not disparaging the city at all. That is just what the capabilities are,” said Assemblyman Scott Gray.
“The growth has been tremendous, let me just say that. I mean, it has really raised up from cobwebs.”
What You Need To Know
- In 2006, Jefferson County bought the Watertown International Airport from the city for $1
- From there, $64 million in upgrades were made
- The airport will soon have a new terminal, with hopes of a second destination to be announced
But $64 million of improvements later, the airport was shown off recently to Rep. Claudia Tenney.
“For the size of this location and the population is not that dense … but it's really critically important when you look at Fort Drum, when you look at the entire region, Lake Ontario and all the people that it serves. Even when you talk about the international community coming in from Canada, too,” Tenney said.
Improvements will soon include a new $28 million terminal. It will double the current size and include a restaurant, a welcome center and more. It's set to open in 2025.
“I love that there's no taxes or extra burden on the communities here, which is really important and that they operate debt-free,” Tenney said.
Overall improvements could see the airport add a second destination. Currently, it only flies to Philadelphia.
“The metrics for this area are pretty promising. So the new terminal that's coming will have the ability to host two airlines,” Airport Deputy Director Shawn Herrmann said.
What isn’t known is that destination. Tenney, though, said she could go back to Washington much more confident in making the case for the airport with anything it needs.
While a second destination announcement isn’t immediate, officials said airport management recently attended a conference that connects airports with airlines in hopes of making an in-person connection.