Martha’s Vineyard Airport boasts new building

Firefighting and snow-removal equipment get new, spacious bays.

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Martha’s Vineyard Airport celebrated the completion of a new 23,000-square-foot Aircraft Rescue Firefighting/Snow Removal Equipment Building Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The $10.5 million facility replaced a World War II–era naval structure that had become obsolete. In addition to providing office and training space to airport staff, the new building will shelter vehicles like fire engines and snowplows, some of which were previously garaged in another part of the airport.

“This is something that was long overdue on Martha’s Vineyard,” said Mary Walsh, regional director of airports for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), prior to a ribbon-cutting on Thursday. “I think it’s absolutely spectacular. Thank you to Scanlon for being a good contractor. And the FAA is very pleased at how we spent our taxpayers’ money here on Martha’s Vineyard …”

Other officials who spoke included Airport Commission chairman Myron Garfinkel and airport manager Ann Richart, who both lauded multiple parties involved in realizing the project.

The FAA funded the lion’s share of the facility with a $8.3 million grant, while a much smaller sum of $461,683 was awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics section. The remainder of the funds came from airport coffers, Ms. Richart told The Times, and she emphasized that no Island towns were assessed any portion of the building’s cost. While the facility will create much-needed office and training space, Ms Richart said she and assistant airport manager Geoff Freeman won’t be migrating over. They will stay in their present offices, which are connected to the airport terminal.

Mr. Freeman, who oversees the airport’s firefighting force and is a captain in Edgartown’s fire department, said the bays garaging the fire equipment feature doors with 10-second open times for rapid deployment onto the tarmac. Another set of doors on the far side of the bays allow equipment to reenter without backing up. These do not appear to raise as quickly.

Like the terminal beside it, the new facility is clad in cedar shakes, but unlike that terminal it features a metal roof that boasts a longer lifespan than asphalt shingles.

Guests at the ribbon-cutting were treated to hors d’oeuvres, hot cider, and other refreshments, and were allowed to tour the structure on Thursday.