New calendar raises funds to build play area at Tacoma Narrows Airport

Business: Grant, fundraising to bring improvements to airport

of the GatewayNovember 20, 2013 

The calendar “Above the Narrows” features aerial shots like this one. The 12-month calendar is part of a fundraiser to improve the Tacoma Narrows Airport. Calendars cost $15 each, or they can be purchased with a bulk rate. Proceeds go to Friends of the Tacoma Narrows Airport.

ADAM GRUENER/COURTESY PHOTO

With the help of grants and fundraising, the Tacoma Narrows Airport soon will have a play area.

Roger Gruener, a community member commissioner on the Tacoma Narrows Airport Advisory Commission, started The Friends of the Tacoma Narrows Airport group about 18 months ago. He saw a need for the group, to raise money for projects, while he sat on the commission.

The group is building a tower structure play and observation area at the airport. It received a $25,000 grant from the Gig Harbor Morning Rotary Club to help build the project.

The improvements the group wants to make have to do with updating the airport and making it a community space. Eventually, the group hopes to have the body of a plane in the airport for children to explore.

“I like to bring my grandkids up there to watch the planes,” Gruener said.

The airport was built in the 1960s, and Gruener would like to see some updates before the 2015 U.S. Open, when air traffic could be heavy due to the influx of tourists.

“It still kind of looks like it was built in the 1960s,” he said of the building.

To raise additional funds, Friends of the Tacoma Narrows Airport will put out a calendar this month. The 12-month calendar features aerial photos that were taken by Gruener’s sons. A commission member donated flight time and the use of a plane. Each month is sponsored by an individual business, so the sales of the calendar will be a net profit.

Gruener hopes to sell 2,000 copies of the calendar at $15 each. They also can be purchased by the dozen at $7.50 per calendar, or by a box at $6 per calendar.

The calendar is called “Above the Narrows,” and it ties into a string of calendars and books across the nation. Photographer Robert Cameron began the “above” series of aerial photography in the 1960s.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@gateline.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.

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