By Dennis Hoey
February 4, 2011
More than 990 acres with runways, hangars and other aviation facilities will be given at no cost to the agency that is overseeing the redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station.
That means that in just two months, Brunswick will be home to a fully functional airport. The Brunswick Executive Airport will open for business April 2.
The Navy’s conveyance of the airport and surrounding land to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority will be announced Monday during a ceremony at 10 a.m. in Hangar 6.
Gov. Paul LePage, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, base commander Capt. Will Fitzgerald and officials from the Base Closure and Realignment Commission are expected to attend, said the authority’s Executive Director Steve Levesque.
Levesque said the conveyance is a significant milestone in the redevelopment of the base from military to civilian use. “It represents the first major piece of property transferred to us by the Navy,” he said.
The Navy discontinued use of its Brunswick base in January 2010. The base will officially be closed down — the victim of a national effort to close military installations — on May 31.
The land transfer follows a review of the proposed airport operation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Navy.
The FAA had to make sure that the airport could safely handle air traffic before it could agree to the property transfer, said Jeffrey Jordan, deputy director of the redevelopment authority.
The transfer of land and airport facilities will allow the authority to establish a civilian airport in Brunswick.
A private company, FlightLevel Aviation, will handle landings and takeoffs by privately owned planes and jets, general aviation aircraft and planes that are owned by tenants of the base.
Levesque said the Brunswick Executive Airport will enhance the state’s airport system. It will have dual 8,000-foot-long runways and more than 300,000 square feet of hangar space.
Levesque said the authority has approved leases with Kestrel Aircraft Co., Resilient Communications, Maine Tool and Machine, Molnlycke Health Care and FlightLevel Aviation.