Make us your home page

Ribbon cut at new Albert Whitted Airport control tower

ST. PETERSBURG — Standing in a new control tower at Albert Whitted Airport, Jack Tunstill mopped his brow and gazed out the window at the city's skyline. He'd been shaking hand after hand all morning.

"You know, we call that terminal the house that Jack built," one man said, pointing across the tarmac. "What will we call this?"

Tunstill, the chairman of the Albert Whitted Airport's Advisory Committee, was on hand Friday with a slew of local dignitaries and airplane aficionados to cut the ribbon at the airport's new $3.1 million control tower. Officials expect to open the tower for use this fall.

The control tower is the latest in a series of renovations to the small airport by the harbor, many of them spearheaded by Tunstill — a new terminal with a restaurant, the Hangar, was installed in 2007, just four years after the city held a referendum to decide the fate of the then-struggling airport.

Since then, officials have worked to identify problem areas at the airport, one of the biggest being the current control tower, which was installed in 1961. The tower's elevator was broken, its stairs were rusting and the structure was so flimsy that air controllers had to evacuate in winds higher than 47 mph.

The new tower can withstand winds up to 130 mph, officials say — and the elevator works.

The tower is a labor of love, Tunstill said. He and city officials have been working for more than two decades to replace the old one, he said.

"As soon as I could, I came up here almost every day during the construction," he said. "It feels great. This airport is my focus, and it's part of the community."

Mayor Bill Foster, who cut the ribbon alongside former Mayor Rick Baker, said airport patrons should take credit for improvements at the airport.

"You all were part of the energy of the revival of Albert Whitted," Foster said before leading attendees on a tour. "You all are to be commended for your service."



takeoffs and landings in 2010

$36 million estimated annual economic impact


revenue in 2010

$11 million cost of capital improvements at the airport

$500-$600 monthly rent to keep an airplane in the hangar at Albert Whitted

Ribbon cut at new Albert Whitted Airport control tower 07/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2011 5:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.