PITTSFIELD — Town officials have already secured funding to build a $1.5 million, town-owned hangar at Pittsfield Municipal Airport and are now approaching final approval for construction of the structure.

The only remaining step is the site plan review with the Pittsfield Planning Board, according to Town Manager Kathryn Ruth.

The Planning Board is expected to discuss the hangar project when it meets Monday.

“We’re very pleased that a project that we talked about having over a decade ago is moving forward,” Ruth said. “We’ve had a lot of help from the federal government, the (Federal Aviation Administration) and the Maine (Department of Transportation).”

The Pittsfield Town Council has already given Ruth the OK to accept grants and bids, so Planning Board approval is the final step before construction. The engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates Inc., headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, has worked on the design for the hangar.

The construction bid was awarded last October to Blane Casey Building Contractor Inc. of Augusta, Ruth said, with intention of having work begin this spring.

The municipal airport, also called Curtis Field, is to remain open during construction, Ruth said, although there might be detours for planes to avoid the worksite.

The hangar project is the culmination of a yearslong effort that has included many other projects that needed addressing first, including work on culverts, the runway and the taxiway.

The new structure is planned as a six-bay T-hangar measuring about 155 feet by 58 feet. Construction is expected to include the apron and taxiway for the hangar — the paved portions on which airplanes travel to reach the runway.

Pittsfield has received federal and state funding for the project, and is responsible for matching a portion of the grants, amounting to slightly more than $75,000, according to Ruth. The money is to come from the town’s reserve fund.

“The town has the funding in its reserve account to make its match,” Ruth said. “And there’s still an opportunity, if the COVID legislation for the airports continues, that we might not have to pay the entire match.”

After the project is finished, town officials expect to rent out space at the hangar. Such space is in high demand, according to Ruth.

The airport brings in money through leases, taxes on privately owned hangars and excise taxes on airplanes kept there. The revenue and taxes now total about $26,000 a year, about what it costs the town to operate the facility.

With the additional funds from leasing the new hangar, the airport is expected to generate more money than it costs the town to operate the facility.

“On this project,” Ruth said, “we’re excited because it’s an economic development project for the town. Our airport is an economic development engine for the town, basically, because it brings a lot of businesses.”

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Pittsfield nears final approval for town-owned hangar at municipal airport – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel

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