Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission unanimously approves master plan

The Martha's Vineyard Airport commission voted in unanimous approval of the airport master plan, a layout of the next 20 years. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission unanimously approved their master plan, which lays out long-range business goals over a 20-year period. It is approved and largely funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Heath Marsden, a design engineer at Jacobs Engineering Group, presented the master plan to the commission. Jacobs consults for the airport in its FAA preparation work.

“The airport is not tied to this for the next five, 10, 15 years. It’s a fluid planning document,” Mr. Marsden said.

The capital improvement plan (CIP) is part of the master plan, and lays out 17 projects over the course of seven years, costing a total of $27,585,500. Mr. Marsden told the commission that the FAA pays 90 percent of the CIP’s cost, while the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) pays 5 percent. The airport is responsible for the remaining 5 percent — $1.4 million.

“If you asked me today if I could give you $1.4 million and you’d give me $28 million worth of stuff, I think I’d do it,” said the chairman of the airport commission Myron Garfinkle. The commissioners agreed.

Most projects focus on making improvements to the airport. Mr. Garfinkle told the commission that they weren’t looking to expand the airport in the sense of increasing the number of flights or expanding the runways. Commissioner Christine Todd said the airport was “at capacity.”

Commissioner Robert Rosenbaum said there was more of a need for improvements to the terminal itself to better accommodate passengers, and rest of the commissioners agreed.

Mr. Marsden said the airport still has a lot of land that could be used for “non-aeronautical use,” businesses that are on airport property but not related to aviation. Using the land would produce additional revenue for the airport.

Ms. Todd asked new airport manager Ann Crook if she was satisfied with the plan and whether it had flexibility to be changed. Ms. Crook, who joined the airport at the beginning of May, said she wished she had been involved with it from its inception, but that she was happy with the plan overall. She said that although the master plan couldn’t be changed, the projects themselves could.

“Given that I came in right at the end of it, yes, I’m really happy with this, and I think it will give us what we need to go forward,” Ms. Crook said.

Ms. Todd made the motion to approve the master plan, commissioner Clarence Barnes seconded it, and the commission voted unanimously to approve it.