New Garden Board approves major reconstruction projects to New Garden Flying Field
By Richard Gaw
On June 19, 20 and 21, the air field will play host to the Chester County Balloon Festival for the first time, and on Monday night at the New Garden Township Supervisors meeting, approval was given to several projects that will modernize the air field for the next several years, as well as extend the contract of a valued associate of the air field.
Based on the recommendation of New Garden Flying Field Manager Jon Martin, the supervisors gave approval to award the contract to the Daisy Construction Company, for the reconstruction of the flying field's runway, as well as runway safety area improvements, including grading and drainage and the construction of a retaining wall; the electrical service relocation for the flying field; the installation of lighted airfield signage; and air field obstruction clearing.
The New Castle, De.-based company served as the low bidder, at a cost of $6.731 million. It will be awarded the project contingent upon additional funding, and review of the bid from the Bureau of Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The board also approved the purchase of a hangar construction kit that will enable the Flying Field to build seven additional T-hangars and two box hangars at the air field. The purchase of kit received its lowest bid from Erect-a-Tube, Inc., a Harvard, Ill.-based aircraft hangar company, for the amount of $204,957. Martin said that the entire cost of the project is estimated at $1.4 million, and that 70 percent of it will be paid for through a state grant, estimated to be $1 million.
The board also approved extending the lease contract at the Flying Field for the Experimental Aircraft Association's [EAA] Chapter 240, for a period of 20 years, with two, four-year options. The EAA is a national organization based in Wisconsin, that has about 180,000 members nationwide.
"Our local chapter has about 180 members, so that's a very vibrant and growing chapter, and it's made up of people from all walks of life – most of them pilots – with a passion for flying," Martin said. "Many of them are tenants of ours at the airport. They do a tremendous amount for the airport, and having them located at the airport far exceeds the value of what we could ever rent that hangar for, on an on-going basis."
In other business, New Garden Township Police Chief Gerald Simpson gave an update on the on-going discussions about the start of a regional police force in southern Chester County. After reading an article that appeared in the May 27 edition of the Chester County Press that summarized the overwhelming rejection of the concept expressed by London Grove Township residents to its supervisors on May 21 – Simpson said that he concludes that the township is very likely to drop out of consideration for regional police coverage.
"While this is discouraging – I'd like to see them [London Grove Township] stay in – I think it's time we start to identify the stakeholders who are sincere in the process," said Simpson, who told the board that as of right now, Kennett Township, Kennett Square Borough, West Grove Borough and New Garden Township remain interested in pursuing the concept.
He said that township supervisor Randy Geouque has contacted Kennett Square Borough Mayor Matt Fetick to arrange a follow-up meeting to continue discussions with the participating municipalities.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.