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OBPA buys land for Ogdensburg airport runway expansion


OGDENSBURG — With a $3 million runway repaving on deck and a $5.6 million extension of it proposed for the future, the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is taking another step to ready Ogdensburg International Airport for more activity.

The OBPA board last week voted 7-0 to pay the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad $25,000 for 8.13 acres of squad-owned land along Route 812.

The squad purchased the land for $250,000 in 2008 in hopes of building a new headquarters, but two years ago instead opted to purchase and renovate the former Hacketts Hardware store building at 1223 Pickering St.

The OBPA plans starting in the spring to install an underground water line on the property that will run from the passenger terminal of the airport, also on Route 812, north to a city water main by Route 37 about a mile away near Ogdensburg Free Academy.

Authority Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Frederick S. Morrill said the water line will cost $440,000 to install and will replace a well system. He said the project is an investment in the airport’s hopefully busier future.

“We’re looking forward,” he said Thursday.

Last summer, the authority received a $3,103,654 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program to repave the airport’s 5,200-foot-long runway beginning in the spring.

The runway repaving will be done by Barrett Paving, Norwood, and will take three months to complete, according to OBPA Director of Operations Steven J. Lawrence.

The work will be done at night so it won’t interrupt Cape Air’s thrice-daily commuter flights or any other private aviation activity at airport.

The authority also will apply to the FAA for $5,624,775 to pay for the proposed lengthening of the runway to 6,000 feet.

The Bridge and Port Authority’s plan is to make the airport capable of accommodating larger commercial airplanes. Officials hope bigger aircraft will mean an increase in passenger numbers and, ultimately, make the money-losing airport profitable.

“Bigger planes, more people,” Mr. Morrill said. “We’ve got to have these things in place.”

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