OLD TOWN, Maine — Air and land traffic will both be on the increase at Dewitt Field as Old Town’s only airport facility undergoes expansion while also becoming its only city-owned industrial park.
Improvements include the underground installation and connection of water, electrical, sewer, natural gas and fiber optic lines at the back end of the airport, repaving Airport Road, installing LED, airport-approved lighting and landscaping.
“Reconstruction started 90 days ago, and we’re finishing the road now,” said Old Town Municipal Airport manager David Wight, who is also Old Town’s public works director. “This has been in the works for two years, so it’s great to see it near completion.”
Old Town City Manager Peggy Daigle said the $1,028,000 project handled by S.E. MacMillan of Bangor will provide enough infrastructure and accommodations for five to seven businesses.
“Old Town didn’t really have an industrial park of its own, so this is now our first city-owned industrial park, which can work in harmony with public and private enterprises,” Wight said. “We think it’s a big selling point, being located close to the airport with access to a lot of cheap energy [natural gas].
“We have some businesses in Old Town already interested in relocating.”
Those businesses may become even more interested with future plans to construct seven private airplane hangars within the next year and another 10-plane “T hangar” or two in the coming years. The field currently has two T hangars.
“We’re planning to lease land to people to build seven private hangars,” Daigle said. “We have at least five people expressing interest in buying those and currently have a dozen or so airplanes still waiting for space.”
The last major renovation of the airfield was the construction of two T hangars in 2004. The field has gotten a lot busier the last six years.
“We have 35 to 40 planes out here now which are mostly small, single-engine aircraft used by dentists, CPAs and construction workers. Sewall Company has four twin-engine planes because they do a lot of overhead photography and mapping,” Wight said.
The airfield has two runways — one is 3,200 feet long and 75 feet wide while the other is 4,000 feet long and 100 feet wide — and also a water runway off the end of the regular runway on the Penobscot River.
“About a third to half of the planes we service are on floats in the summer,” Wight said.
Wight said Dewitt Field will be ready to start private hangar construction next spring after the road from Route 43 on the opposite side of the runway is extended beyond the composting site to the hangar sites.
The municipal airport has been around since the mid-1940s, when Old Town turned the site donated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture into an airfield.