An aircraft maintenance and avionics firm will move into a hangar at Hazleton Regional Airport in early March and generate substantial revenue for the facility, a city official said.
City council authorized the mayor to enter a lease agreement with BlackRock Aircraft Maintenance & Avionics, LLC for space at a city-owned hangar at the airport, according to Dominic Yannuzzi, of Alfred Benesch, the city’s contracted engineering firm.
The agreement could generate as much as $100,000 per year, which would be earmarked for its airport fund, he said.
The firm will repair and upgrade aircraft at the hangar, according to a resolution approved by city council. BlackRock is expected to move into the hangar on March 1 and begin servicing aircraft with a crew of at least five employees, Yannuzzi said. The workforce could expand to 20 people in the future.
The lease agreement has an initial term of five years and could be extended, should the firm decide to continue working from the local airport, Yannuzzi said.
The BlackRock firm will offer aircraft repair and upgrade services in place of the Olson Aircraft Co., which negotiated a similar lease agreement with the city last September, Yannuzzi said.
Arrangements with the Olson firm, which were expected to generate about $50,000 per year in airport fund revenue, did not materialize, Yannuzzi said.
“Some issues happened and they backed out,” he said. “So, we were able to secure BlackRock now.”
Yannuzzi said the BlackRock hangar lease is among several revenue-generating proposals undertaken at the airport in recent years. The city is involved with projects for expanding the runway safety zone, clearing trees that pose dangers at both ends of the runway and undertaking a renovation project at the pilots’ lounge. The latter of the initiatives was completed with $150,000 in donated supplies and labor.
Council members approved a resolution that amends an application the city filed last December on behalf of the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts for renovations planned for the J.J. Ferrara Center.
Council President Jack Mundie said PTPA’s application is pending, but asked to increase the requested allocation from $200,000 to $211,288 to cover costs of the project.
Mundie noted that the original application was “off by a small amount.”
Council approved first reading of an ordinance that reallocates $15,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds that the city received in 2013 to Catholic Social Services.
The money will help get a homeless shelter program off the ground, according to Joseph Zeller III, executive assistant to the mayor. The money will be formally allocated to Catholic Social Services after council approves the ordinance on second and third readings.