The long-awaited refurbished terminal at Sonoma County Charles M. Schulz Airport (STS) saw some fanfare Tuesday. Various county dignitaries and the public gathered to mark the completion of a big remodeling and expansion job and celebrate added capacity.
Craig Schulz, one of the sons of the famed cartoonist, shared remarks.
"We started with the bronze Linus and Charlie Brown [statues], which you probably all saw, outside the terminal years ago," said Schulz. "And now here we are in this beautiful brand new terminal where there are now more jets than small planes at STS, it would seem, and as people disembark from their flights, they'll be greeted by comic strips, written by Charles Schultz."
Sonoma County supervisor David Rabbitt pointed out the airport is an "enterprise fund," meaning revenues and expenses stay within the airport infrastructure; they don't mix with the general fund or other county-wide accounts. Because of that, Rabbitt said, there was a limited amount of money to pay for a potential expansion and renovation, "and it really wasn't enough," he said.
"But I think when you look at airports and what they mean to the community, I think it's important to make the investment and make sure that what you're building are the important structures," Rabbitt told the crowd. "It's really our modern-day equivalent to the railroad station of yesteryear. That place that makes the first impression on a visitor or welcomes home an old friend. And let's face it, our terminal was really more akin to a bus station than an airport. So I think with this addition, we have really stepped up our game. We welcome our visitors here to Sonoma County and our residents as well. I believe this project really represents Sonoma County...again, welcoming our visitors, serves our residents, provides the function our partners desire, while ensuring the quality of space is fitting to our county. The impact of our airport is significant for the convenience of the traveler and to the economic wellbeing of the county. It supports our economy and provides employment directly and indirectly to thousands."
As of Wednesday, Nov. 16, the new terminal is open to the public and adds additional gates at the airport, enabling it to accommodate more flights.