Loan moves forward for airport

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The Martha's Vineyard Airport's pursuit of a SRF loan moves along. — Eunki Seonwoo

The Dukes County Commission unanimously approved the state revolving fund (SRF) loan application the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission submitted, airport commission chair Bob Rosenbaum told his fellow commissioners during a meeting Thursday. “So, that’s moving ahead,” Rosenbaum said. “That was required for the Sept. 15 deadline, which was met. So we should be good to go on that.”

During a special meeting on Sept. 1, the airport commission moved to authorize the utilization of up to $10.97 million in a SRF loan for the construction phase of the airport’s wastewater treatment plant. The $10.97 million loan can be reduced through grants, which the airport is working on securing.

“There is still the issue of how we wind up getting the money. The county seems to still be trying to deal with some process,” Rosenbaum said. He said county commission chair Christine Todd pointed out that “the airport and the county are one and the same” from a financial standpoint. 

“Certainly from an auditing standpoint,” airport commission treasurer Richard Knabel added. 

Rosenbaum favored an option of transferring the funds into the county’s grants account, paying out of the airport’s operating account, and then transferring money from the grants account into the operating account.

“That is all audited as part of the county’s audit, so they have all of the backup information,” Rosenbaum said, who called it “the most sensible and appropriate” method. 

In other business, the airport released a request for proposal (RFP) for an airfield paint job, which must be done by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Nov. 15 deadline. During an August meeting, Freeman said the project is estimated to cost $330,000. The RFP, project specifications, and plans are available on the airport’s website

According to Freeman’s report, the airport saw slightly lower air traffic counts in August (7,657 operations) than in August 2021 (8,226 operations). Among the airlines that flew to and from the airport, American Airlines finished up its summer season. Delta Air Lines will fly for a little longer for the Island, through October. JetBlue will fly through Oct. 28.

“You’ll definitely see a decrease in commercial activity over the following weeks,” Freeman said. 

Freeman also updated the commission about the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s approval of Vineyard Wind’s proposal to demolish an existing airport hangar and replace it with a 9,000-square-foot structure. He expects construction to start next month.

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