By Richard L. Gaw
Steve Allaband and Randy Geouque, members of the New Garden board of supervisors, were both named by their fellow supervisors to serve on the newly formed Airport Development Planning Committee at the New Garden Flying Field, it was announced at the board's meeting on April 21.
The announcement, made by Flying Field aviation director Jon Martin, was part of Martin's presentation to the board that also included a report on planned upgrades to the facility and a roster of upcoming events.
Allaband and Geouque will be part of a committee that will help to establish a direction for growth for the airport, Martin said. A key initiative of the committee will be to formalize a business and technology plan for the development of 38.4 of the 197 available acres at the airport.
Martin secured a paving contract for the West Apron rehabilitation project to Martin's Paving, which will begin on May 5 and be given 30 days to complete the project. He also proposed to the board an additional proposal from Martin's Paving for the cost of repairing the access road to the Flying Field -- a total of 601 square yards -- which will involve the removal of broken asphalt, and the installation of 3-inch-deep new asphalt, at a cost of $9,225.
Martin also asked Martin Paving to provide an estimate to repair the parking lot at the EAA Hangar area, a dimension of 587 square yards, which is estimated to be $7,875, and includes the installation of 2.5 inches of new asphalt in the area.
For these projects, township solicitor Vince Pompo said that because of township codes, Martin would need to obtain two additional price quotes for each project before they can begin. The board agreed with Pompo's recommendation, and the motion to obtain two additional bids was passed.
Martin also brought the supervisors up to date on the second phase of reconstruction of the field's runway project, which he said will receive $1.2 million in funding from the Bureau of Aviation. This grant will pay for tree clearing, site preparation for the eventual widening of the runway, as well as lighting and electrical installation throughout the runway area.
The board granted Martin permission to file an application for the Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF), a new grant that provides financial assistance to improve transportation assets, which include airport hangars. The grant is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Community Economic Development. The deadline for application is June 20.
If the Flying Field receives the grant, it would be applied to the cost of improving the first row of hangars at the airport. The costs associated with improving the hangars would be between $1 million and $1.2 million, of which 70 percent would be paid for out of the MTF, and the remaining 30 percent – about $300,000 – would be paid for by the Flying Field through a loan, whose debt service would be paid for by revenue generated from the monthly rental fees associated with the new hangar. Once repaired, Martin said that the life expectancy of the new hangars will be about 75 years.
Finally, Martin gave the supervisors the dates of upcoming events at the Flying Field. On May 3, a P-51 vintage Mustang plane will be on display at the airport, and an open house will be held on June 14. The Future Aviators Camp will be held July 14 to 18 and Aug. 11 to 15, and the Flying Field's annual Air Show will be held Aug. 23 and 24.
In other township news, the board approved the re-hiring of New Garden Township Police officer Pedro Melendez, who had resigned from the department earlier in the year to take a position with the Pennsylvania State Police.
Carin Bonifacino of the New Garden Growers Market made a presentation at the meeting, and announced that the Growers' Market, now in its tenth season, will be held this year at the New Garden Maintenance Center, beginning on May 10 and extending until Nov. 22.
Ted Christie of the New Garden Historical Commission told the supervisors and the audience that in celebration of the 300th birthday of New Garden Township, plans are being made to hold a commemorative event, which he said is tentatively set for Sept. 27, 2014, with a rain date of Sept. 28.