Airport officials wait for funding

WESTFIELD - The Barnes Municipal Airport management is waiting to receive more than $4 million worth of federal and state grants to finance the demolition of the former terminal and to spruce up the area around the $6 million terminal that was opened in May.

The airport will receive just over $3.5 million in federal funding and $93,625 in state funding to remove the old terminal, reconstruct the apron at the old building and around the new facility, and remove brush and trees at several locations, including some obstructions on runways.

"We have been pretty fortunate in recent years in gaining funding to upgrade the airport," Airport Manager Christopher J. Willenborg said.

A $4 million grant was secured last year to finance the reconstruction of taxiways and runway lighting, he said.

The former terminal was built in 1939 and opened in 1940. When construction started on the new terminal in January 2006, Willenborg said, "Westfield had been trying since the 1970s to build a new facility."

Funding for the terminal, which was officially opened on May 11, was provided by the state Aeronautics Commission, with the city contributing $286,000. The building was erected by Fontaine Brothers of Springfield.

The 17,000-square-foot building now houses administrative offices, a restaurant, corporate flight services, and conference space for businesses and agencies.

Willenborg said that everything is in place for contract awards under the new funding, "once we actually receive the grants."

"We hope to see it early this fall, with work commencing in October or early November," he said. "The three-part project is aimed at safety enhancement at the airport."