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Fri, Jun 08, 2012

Sebring Airport Authority Applies For $50,000 State Grant

Money Would Be Used To Help Preserve The Airport's Historic Tower

The historic air-traffic control tower at Sebring Regional Airport in Sebring, FL, is badly in need of renovation, and the Sebring Airport Authority is asking the city, the county and prominent members of the public for letters of support in obtaining a state grant.

The tower, 62.8 feet tall, was built in 1941, when the Hendricks Field training base opened. However, the tower was relocated in 2000 to make room for the new airport terminal building. This tower is one of only two of its type, built during the Second World War, still in existence. The renovation cost is expected to be somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000.

The airport is planning a 50/50 grant application to the state Division of Historical Resources Small Matching Historic Preservation Grant program. That means they will match the $50,000 or whatever amount they receive.

In September 1941, the first enlisted men arrived in Sebring while housing was not yet ready at the base. At its full allotment of personnel, there were 217 officers, 475 flight cadets, 1,930 enlisted men and 15 nurses, for a total of 2,637. January 29, 1942, the first B-17 arrived, and a crew of one pilot and one mechanic was assigned to it. Eventually, a total of 10 airplanes were brought in, all under the jurisdiction of the Southeast Army Air Forces Training Center at Maxwell Field, AL.

The base was named in January 1942 after First Lt. Laird Woodruff Hendricks, of Ocala and Jacksonville, who died in London, England, in July of 1941.

The state has recognized the tower as a historic structure, but there is another level of FAA requirements that it no longer meets because it was relocated.

The airport actually uses the tower only a few times a year, including the U.S. Sports Aviation Expo in January, and during the 12 Hours of Sebring race, when it is occupied by FAA personnel due to the heavier than normal air traffic.

Sebring Regional Airport asks all to support for the grant by writing to Beverly Glarner at the Sebring Airport Authority, 128 Authority Lane, Sebring, FL, 33870, or by email at bev@sebring-airport.com. The deadline for letters is June 22, 2012.

Letters should be addressed to:
Mr. Robert F. Bendus, Director
Division of Historical Resources
C/o Historic Preservation Grants Program
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250

FMI: www.sebring-airport.com

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