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Laconia Airport Authority discusses $1 million windfall

March 04, 2009
The Laconia Airport Authority opened their meeting eagerly last week, ready to discuss their recently awarded grant from the federal government and where, exactly, the money will go.

The airport is specifically looking at their runway rehabilitation project as the use for the money. The second project is looking at updating the A-ramp that carries passengers to the planes.

"It depends on when we get the funding which project we do first," said Diane Cooper, manager of the airport. "We may be able to do them both together."

The work that will start on the airport will require planes to be diverted at certain times so the construction can progress. Cooper said it shouldn't be a problem to get the pilots and businesses to agree to the temporary inconvenience.

"The improvements are for their benefit," said Cooper. "We will have a much better facility for them. There will be two weeks during the projects where the terminal will be closed. The most affected will be Skybright and they have worked it out where they can land planes."

The airport was one of only three airports to New Hampshire to receive funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The ARRA allows airports to use the funding for specific projects. Last year the airport received funds for their runway rehabilitation project totaling $8 million; this year they have the ARRA grant, which will net the airport $1-$2 million.

The pre-bid for the proposed projects under consideration packages are available to contractors at the airport. The pre-bid date is set or May 29th. The airport still has to go through all the paperwork and normal channels, but Cooper reported that the various official channels are accommodating them. Cooper said that they are looking for other grants too, so that they can start on other projects.

"This is so on track," said Donald Flanders, member of the LAA, "The FAA said don't worry about the paperwork and the Genome project, they said don't worry about approvals. When have we ever had an experience like that?"

Martin Lord Osman
Tilton School
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