Buster Boshears thinks his father and uncle would be squirming if they knew the Daniel Field airport terminal was being named after their family.
“It’s a pretty neat honor, but I think they would both be a little embarrassed,” he said.
The newly renovated terminal at Daniel Field will be dedicated and renamed Boshears Terminal this morning after two years of construction.
Boshears’ father, Willis “Buster” Boshears, and uncle Forrest Boshears were early champions for Augusta aviation starting in the 1930s. After World War II, the airport benefited from soldiers enrolling in flight school under the G.I. Bill. Flying became a more popular means of transportation, Boshears said, and his father and uncle knew it was invaluable for Augusta to have a city airport.
“Both of them were participants early in aviation, when it first started taking off,” he said. “As aviation grew, they were a part of it.”
Forrest and Buster Sr. have been inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, and Augusta Aviation Commission member Bill Welsh said it’s only fitting that the terminal be named for the family.
“There is no one who deserves it more than this family,” Welsh said.
Welsh has done considerable research on the history of aviation in Augusta, and he said the Boshears family’s passion for flying kept Augusta on the crest of the wave as flight became more popular.
“The whole Boshears family is prominent in the aviation world, and it’s because of them that we even have Daniel Field,” he said.
The terminal renovation was on the special purpose local option sales tax VI ballot and broke ground in January 2010. The project cost $1.7 million and was completed last month.
“This was a huge need,” said Becky Shealy, the vice president of business development for Augusta Aviation.
The renovation is a significant cosmetic improvement, Shealy said, making the terminal a more inviting place for travelers.
The last renovation was in the 1970s, she said, and the building was not up to code for fire safety or security. The terminal now boasts an elevator and finished second floor, which is empty but available for office space. Construction included removing asbestos and curbs; replacing a spiral staircase with an elevator; putting new finishing on the floors; and adding a large, open room with two balconies for large crowds, events and a lounge area for pilots.
Shealy said the airport generates revenue for the city through its customers, who pay ad valorem taxes and fuel sales tax. According to the city’s Web site, the airport brings in several hundred thousand dollars in taxes each year and employs about 50 people.