Aug. 19--POTSDAM -- The village voted to begin advertising for bids Monday night in its plans to renovate the existing hangar at Damon Field. The village intends to enlarge the hangar after current tenant Air Methods, an emergency medical transport business, decided to change its aircraft of choice from a helicopter to a fixed wing plane due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Air Methods officials changed its business plans when it discovered that bad weather prevented the helicopter from taking off.
"They found that the weather up here was so bad that there were a number of times when they could not operate," said Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis.
However environmental conditions are not as crucial for fixed wing planes.
Currently the existing hangar is one foot too narrow to accommodate fixed-wing aircraft and will need to be enlarged.
The village also approved payments Monday for a master plan, assessments, paving and fencing for the airport, which total approximately $8,000 and pave the way for an overall expansion of the airport to accommodate fixed-wing craft.
"These are all things we have to do to keep that airport in service," said Mr. Yurgartis.
Funding for these improvements comes largely from federal grants, though the village will pay 5 percent of total costs.
Plans for a private hangar, which may involve two businesses is also under way, although those projects are still in the preliminary stages, according to Mr. Yurgartis.
Copyright 2014 - Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.