A project to pave the ramp and taxiways of Minute Man Air Field, a private airport in Stow, Massachusetts, that hosts 70 based aircraft and 11 businesses that employ 40 people, will complete a three-phase project funded by a state grant and private contributions this June.
The airport will be putting out “a clean, shiny welcome mat” when the $1.062 million phase three is finished, complementing the recent repaving of the airport’s runway and the removal of obstacles to bring it into compliance with FAA safety standards, said airport operator Don McPherson.
AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins said the 80/20 state-private funding partnership reflected the state’s recognition of the economic value of privately owned, public-use airports to the Bay State’s transportation system. Privately owned, public-use airports in Massachusetts are home bases to more than 350 aircraft and more than 20 businesses “that play an important role in their local economies,” he said.
Such airports are in the vanguard of efforts “to turn the tide against the declining pilot population. They are the original cradles of grassroots aviation and will continue to play a vitally important role in shaping the future of general aviation.”
McPherson said other officials who supported the airport projects and had been invited to the project launch event and annual “takeoff party” along with “tenants, supporters and friends” included state Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Middlesex and Worcester District); state Rep. Jen Benson (D-37th Middlesex District), and selectmen from Stow and Boxborough. He also credited the strong support of state Sen. Don Humason (R-2nd Hampden and Hampshire District), chair of the legislative Aviation Caucus, for making the projects’ funding possible.
“You don’t get a grant by yourself,” McPherson said.
In another upbeat bit of news for Minute Man Air Field, a privately funded project to build 18 T-hangars is now in possession of all required permits and should be completed about the same time as the paving work, he said, adding, “We’re bucking the trend here.”