Over the last month, the Northern Maine Regional Airport in Presque has been awarded two separate grants which will assist in the development of a new hangar complex. 

Presque Isle Public Information Officer Kim Smith says the complex will measure a total of 9,225 square feet and contain at least five individual hangar units for smaller aircraft. The total estimated cost of the project is $794,800. Smith says it's expected these units will help support local businesses that use aircraft in their day-to-day operations.

They're also expected to boost recruitment of healthcare professionals to the area. Many healthcare professionals own their own aircraft and factor in the availability of these types of hangars in where they decide to locate.

Pam Hanaway/Facebook

The largest grant was over $5 million dollars and comes from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Maine Department of Transportation. Smith says the objective for this grant is the reconstruction of an existing taxiway, with a smaller amount going toward the partial construction of a new taxiway, new parking ramp, building pad and access road.

Smith says the bulk of the earth materials used to construct these new items will be reused from the existing taxiway. While the material is no longer suitable for a taxiway which accommodates large aircraft, it exceeds the requirements necessary to hold the smaller aircraft which will use this new hangar complex. The value of the work completed for the new hangar complex portion of this project is estimated to be $106,500. .

The second grant, while smaller in overall size, will have a greater direct impact on the new hangar complex project. The award was for $250,000 and will go directly for the construction of the hangars. This federal award comes from the Northern Border Regional Commission. State Senator Michael Willette of Presque Isle, who worked with the Northern Maine Regional Airport to impress on the Governor's the economic benefits of airport infrastructure, says the construction of this hangar complex "is a prime example of the type of community and economic development results that State government is looking for from these Northern Border Commission grant projects.”

Aroostook Partnership

On the regional level, this project was supported by the Northern Maine Development Commission. NMDC's Robert Clark says the proposed hangar construction was identified as a gap in local transportation infrastructure and merits consideration for funding.  NMDC will also assist the airport with the administration of the Northern Border Commission grant funding.

Airport Director Scott Wardwell says the project has been in planning stages for a number of years. He says the funding provided by the Northern Border Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Maine Department of Transportation finally will make this project financially feasible.