KIM SMITH DEDAM
LAKE CLEAR — A federal grant will allow terminal expansion to move forward at Adirondack Regional Airport.
The project has been in a holding pattern for several years.
On Monday, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens announced $967,110 in U.S. Department of Transportation grant funding to expand the terminal in Lake Clear.
The update will add room to the security-gate area to meet Transportation Security Agency (TSA) safety standards.
Adirondack Airport is operated by the Town of Harrietstown.
Town Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua said in an interview on Monday that the funding comes as great news, especially for area residents and air travelers.
“It’s fantastic. This is something we really need in order to expand the terminal, which is too small to handle even the number of passengers on Cape Air flights,” he said.
“The airport needs more room for TSA security equipment, and we need to expand the terminal in order to achieve that.”
For the past year, the design and plans to add about 30 feet to the eastern edge of the terminal have been developed in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), he said.
“Last year, the FAA gave us the approval to design the space to meet TSA’s needs, the airport’s needs and the traveling public’s needs,” Bevilacqua said.
Improvements will include additional restrooms inside the security clearance area. At this point, people who have been screened for air travel have to go through the process again after using restrooms elsewhere in the building.
Space is also tight for families waiting for people to arrive and depart.
“It will be really nice to get this work done,” Bevilacqua said.
Some preliminary work on the terminal expansion will likely begin before the year is out.
But Corey Hurwitch, Adirondack Airport manager, expects the bulk of it will be started in the spring.
The project had previously been put out for bids, which were opened and then contracts awarded by the town.
“The contractor will probably not begin work until next year,” he said.
The $967,110 grant represents 95 percent of the total project cost. The Town of Harrietstown is responsible for 2.5 percent of the total, as is New York state.
The Harrietstown portion will come out of the airport’s capital projects fund, which was allocated $65,000 for 2013, Hurwitch said.
The airport terminal renovation has been on the table for some time, coming together slowly and in phases.
“We’ve been trying for several years to get money to finish this project. We knew the money was tight this year. Having it come through for us is really exciting,” Hurwitch said.
‘TO IMPROVE SAFETY’
Federal lawmakers were glad to deliver the funding news.
“I am pleased to add this federal investment to the list of ‘arrivals’ at Adirondack Regional Airport,” Schumer said in a news release. “I applaud the DOT for helping the airport improve safety in the terminal and to better serve residents and all visitors to the Adirondack region.”
Calling the grant a “smart investment,” Gillibrand said in a statement, “these federal resources will help improve safety and quality for passengers and businesses.”
Owens said the renovations will help make air travel safer in and out of the Adirondacks.
“I applaud the DOT for investing in improvements at Adirondack Regional that will help our region attract more tourists and connect residents and business travelers to larger airline markets.”
The grant is the second federal transportation award to reach Adirondack Regional Airport this month.
The Department of Transportation provided $85,405 two weeks ago to design a new airport terminal apron — the part of the tarmac next to the terminal that is used to load and unload planes.
That section of the pavement has poor drainage, which is causing the surface to deteriorate.
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