September 11, 2018

Brunswick Executive Airport gets $6.2 million grant for hangar, upgrades

Courtesy / Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
Courtesy / Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
Brunswick Executive Airport is getting a $6.2 million grant that will pay for a general aviation hangar and needed infrastructure upgrades.

Brunswick Executive Airport is getting a $6.2 million grant that will pay for a general aviation hangar and needed infrastructure upgrades. The money is part of Federal Aviation Administration's Military Airports program, which is intended to bring former military bases up to current civil standards, said Steve Levesque, executive director of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

Of the money, $3,636,800 will pay for construction of a hangar to accommodate general aviation aircraft at the former Brunswick Naval Air Base.

Levesque said the new hangar will be more cost-effective than the current practice of using large maintenance hangars to house the small general aviation planes.

The large hangars "weren't designed [to house the smaller aircraft] and are very expensive for this purpose," Levesque told Mainebiz Monday. "In addition, this creates additional needed space for aviation businesses in the larger hangars."

The airport, built for military aircraft, has two 8,000-foot runways, 650,000 square feet of hangar space and 103 acres of taxiways and aircraft parking space. The grant is part of a $40 million, 10-year upgrade to the airport that began in 2011, and so far has included infrastructure upgrades to lighting and hangars, as well as fencing and more. Levesque said $25 million has already been spent on the airport and its grounds.

Despite the work already done, the infrastructure still needs upgrades to meet modern aviation standards, he said.

The grant also provides $1,029,445 to install perimeter fencing to keep wildlife off the runways, $330,255 to repair utilities and $1,219,320 to improve airport drainage.

In addition to addressing safety issues, major upgrades have included renovation to the large maintenance hangars to make them more energy efficient, improvements to navigation and lighting systems, drainage systems and other infrastructure systems.

Levesque said the focus for the airport portion of the 3,200-acre Brunswick Landing campus continues to be general aviation, aircraft maintenance and repair, airport manufacturing, aerospace research and development.

The program that provided the money is 90% funded by the FAA, with the rest coming from the state Department of Transportation and MRRA.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a news release the airport "has been a major catalyst for the redevelopment of Brunswick Naval Air Station."

"In addition to improving safety and making important infrastructure upgrades, this investment will help the airport continue to attract businesses and good-paying jobs to the region," she said.

Since Brunswick Landing opened in 2011, some 110 businesses have located there, and Levesque said the number of jobs created is expected to hit 2,000 by the end of the year.

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