Funding for a third new hangar at Meriden Markham Airport approved by committee 

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 MERIDEN — The city wants to bond $600,000 to construct a new aircraft hangar at Meriden Markham Airport, adding to two new hangars already approved earlier this year. 

The city wants to add a third hangar because it sees them as “revenue generators,” Finance Director Michael Lupkas said. 

Over the life of the 20-year bond period for the third new hangar, the amount of revenue the city will receive from leasing space to pilots is expected to exceed the cost of the bond, including interest, by about $163,000, according to Lupkas. After the 20-year bond period is over, the hangar will continue to produce annual revenue of $60,000, according to Lupkas. 

The City Council’s Finance Committee voted 4-0 this week to approve the bonding, which will now go to the full council for final approval. 

Airport officials have said there is a wait list of over 60 pilots for hangar space. There is a dearth of hangar space to store aircraft in Connecticut and surrounding states, city officials have said. Several pilots have spoken in favor of the new hangars at recent meetings, citing the lack of hangar space. 

When the council discussed approving the first two hangars last month, some city councilors expressed a desire to build more hangars given the demand for them and their potential to provide a revenue source to the city.

The airport upgrades approved last month by the council include two new hangars with room to store about 16 airplanes. The city is also demolishing and replacing three existing hangars, which are upwards of 60 to 70 years old and are in poor condition. The city is bonding $2.4 million for the upgrades, including $1.1 million approved by council last month and $1.3 million that had already been approved for new hangars a few years back. 

The total cost of the previously approved hangars, including interest, will be about $3.4 million, less than the $4.1 million in revenue they’re projected to generate over the 20-year bond. 

The new hangar would be built on the south end of the airport property, which extends over the Wallingford town line. The hangars will be built under a building permit Meriden obtained from the town of Wallingford a few years back. 

The new hangar will include four boxes that will be able to store between two and three planes each, Wilma Petro, director the Meriden Markham Airport, told the Finance Committee. Each box will be 48 feet by 48. Lupkas said the expected life of the new hangars will extend “well beyond” the 20-year bond period. 

“So anything in excess of (the project’s total cost), once the bonds are paid would continue as revenue into the city. Just pure revenue, without any expense,” Lupkas said.

Petro couldn’t be reached for comment this week.  

During a public hearing held by the Finance Committee on the new hangar, resident David Rauch, who lives on Columbus Avenue near the airport, raised concerns about the noise that planes flying near his house produce. He urged the airport to enforce noise abatement regulations already in place. 

“There are a handful of planes that cause a lot of trouble … There are planes that are coming in and making (hard turns) right over our house at low altitude. Apparently, that’s a big noise contributor,” Rauch said. “...In the nice weather, it’s almost impossible to hold something social outside many days because every 10 minutes (there’s a loud noise due to an airplane). And I don’t think that’s fair to the citizens of Meriden, especially those that live near the airport.”

Petro at the meeting encouraged Rauch to file a complaint to the airport about any planes he feels are violating the noise abatement. She also invited Rauch to visit the airport or attend a meeting of the city’s Aviation Commission to discuss the issue.
Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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