RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The fate of the airport control tower at the Cuyahoga County Airport will be announced Friday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Since learning last week that the tower at the Richmond Heights airport was targeted for closure, county officials have sent letters to the FAA, pleading for the tower to be spared.
Officials say the airport is home to 54 businesses, which employ 3,000 workers, totalling approximately $150 million in salaries.
"I think there is money that could be saved within the system without making this kind of drastic cut," said Mike Matejka, head of flight maintenance at the airport for a Northeast Ohio Fortune 500 company.
Matejka pointed to Monday morning's incident at the airport, in which a Leer jet overshot the runway and was stuck in the mud. The airport was shut down for 6 hours.
He believes that without an airport control tower to alert incoming planes about the closure -- it could have led to a disaster.
"Had that not been addressed properly, it could lead to multiple events that lead to a major accident," he said.
Businesses like Flight Options, LLC, a private aviation company located at the airport, are bracing for the impact of FAA cuts. The company employs 900 workers nationwide, with 300 employees in Northeast Ohio.
Jim Weaver, Director of Operations for Flight Options, says safety and efficiency at the airport would be dramatically affected, if the tower closes.
"It gives us an extra set of eyes," he said. "It's a trickle down effect. It effects all of us."
In all, 189 airport towers at small and medium airports around the country are targeted for closure. Unless there is action taken by Congress, the closures would take effect on April 7.