Work planned at Fitchburg, Southbridge airports
May 6, 2014
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  • The state said Tuesday it will pay for nearly all of the costs to build or renovate general aviation airport administrative facilities in 15 communities, including an estimated $3.45 million structure at Fitchburg Municipal Airport and $1.05 million for Southbridge Municipal Airport.

    Fitchburg and Southbridge are already being designed, with construction expected to begin in 2015, the state Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division said.

    The projects are expected to take about nine months.

    A 5 percent match from the community is required.

    The 15 general aviation airports were chosen as part of a comprehensive, statewide Airport Administration Building Master Plan that identified projects based upon several factors, including public safety needs and the amount of activity at the airport, the state said.

    Each new airport administrative facility will be designed and built according to a flexible prototype design that considers local needs.

    “Our airport economic impact study identified nearly $12 billion in economic activity and more than 124,000 jobs traced to aviation in the commonwealth,” DOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Davey said. “That extraordinary success requires continued strategic investment to ensure these airports continue to serve as economic drivers and gateways for business and tourism.”

    Southbridge airport manager Ronald C. Plouffe said: “I cannot express the excitement and appreciation that the Southbridge Airport Commission and I have concerning this project. As you know, we were devastated by the tornado back in 2011, and this project will definitely move our plans further than we would have ever expected to imagine.”

    Work will be done at an additional 11 airports in 2016 through 2019, state officials said.

    Gardner and Orange are among seven airports scheduled for construction of new administrative facilities.

    Marlboro is among four airports where existing facilities will be renovated.

    Contact Brian Lee at Follow him on Twitter at @BleeTG.