Whether you need to stay dry on a rainy day or avoid the sun when it's 90 degrees in the shade, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has you covered.
Construction of a $1.8 million parking project was recently completed at the West Bay site. The new structure features 140 tons of steel supporting about 117,000 square feet of heavy duty canvas covering 300 parking spaces and a walkway to the terminal.
The majority of the $1.8 million construction cost was funded by a Florida Department of Transportation grant.
The covered areas were included in the original plans for the airport but were eliminated due to budget constraints. "We've gotten a lot of positive feedback," Parker McClellan, ECP's Executive Director, said. "We recognized the need and we added to it."
"I think it's real nice, especially on a rainy day," Bruce Johnson, who was at ECP on Monday to pick up his daughter, said. "I'm real pleased that they have it."
Just a month after construction was completed, the covered walkway is a big hit. "It's fantastic," Patrick Davies, a Marianna resident, said. "It's great to get out from underneath the elements, especially on a gloomy day when it's raining."
McClellan said the material used for the covering requires annual maintenance and has a life span of 20 years, but Florida's sun could take a toll. "We don't really anticipate it being that long but we anticipate that it's going be at least around for a long time," he said.
Covered parking costs $4 per hour or $13 per day. "We're really encouraging it for longer term parkers than for short term, but if somebody wants to park there short term, they're more than welcome to," McClellan said.
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