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Cuomo pledges major Hancock Airport renovation

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
An artistic rendering of the governor's proposed renovation of Hancock Airport

Syracuse Hancock International Airport will be getting a multi-million dollar makeover thanks to the Cuomo administration. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a regional State of the State Address in Syracuse Wednesday.

He started out getting laughs from the crowd by showing unflattering pictures of the aging airport.

"Syracuse Hancock International Airport opened in 1962, I’m sure in 1962, everybody loved it," Cuomo said. "But, not to insult the Syracuse airport, but I think it is time to do better.”

Credit Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
The proposed vision for the outside of Hancock Airport

So he’s promising $45 million for the revitalization of Hancock, taking it from a dated facility to what the governor says will be a world-class airport. Among the specifics in the redesign plan are new flooring and furniture in the terminal building, a regional aviation history museum, new exterior facade that will allow natural light in the passenger drop off area, a glass pedestrian bridge from the parking garage and a cold weather green roof.

“It’s certainly cosmetic," said Airport Executive Director Christina Callahan. "It’s also going to give us an opportunity to renovate rest rooms, ticket counters, where the airlines work, the entire grand hall as we’re calling it, now what people normally refer to as the center lobby."

Callahan says this work piggybacks on major renovations in recent years in the post-security checkpoint areas of the airport.

"To really continue the vision and experience we’ve already given central New York travelers with our new checkpoint, our new concessions," Callahan said. "We knew we wanted to bring it full circle and this is going to allow us to do that.”

Cuomo says the project will create 869 jobs. Onondaga County is also chipping in $1 million for the project, coming from it’s Department of Transportation roadwork budget. Cuomo expects the renovations to be complete in two years.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.