LINCOLN, Maine – With the town’s new hangar full of airplanes and the removal of some runway sight obstructions underway, the Lincoln Regional Airport’s manager hopes to have an aviation gasoline pump system installed at the airport next.
“I think the next big thing we will do is fuel,” said manager David Lloyd. “There is a big need for fuel at this airport not only for pilots but for people with chainsaws and other small engines that can’t handle ethanol” laced gasoline.
An aviation fuel tank with card-swipe payment pump system would cost $100,000 to $150,000 and probably would be the airport’s next or most immediate need, said Lloyd, who is also Lincoln’s Public Works Department director.
Lloyd said he hopes to work up some kind of presentation on the issue for the Town Council in the spring, as councilors start work on the town’s new budget.
Interim Town Manager William Lawrence said he was receptive to Lloyd’s idea, but that his primary goal is to keep the town’s mill rate flat.
“Right now I am overly cautious about spending money. If the hangar fees will offset any potential costs, it could be worth examining,” Lawrence said. “I am going to be looking lean and mean at the budget so anything that can add to our costs will be scrutinized.”
Lloyd said he hoped to use grant funding instead of town tax money to pay for airport improvements whenever possible. Lawrence said Lloyd is very good at finding alternative-funding sources such as grants for the airport.
Lincoln voters in late July to accept the $237,000 grant to acquire land at the airport, including a small terminal building, a nearby hangar and about five acres at the north end of the runway. The land also has a campground near the Penobscot River. The town kicked in $11,850 for the purchase. The measure passed 317-105 in a special referendum.
The purchases are part of a town plan formulated in the mid 2000s to use Federal Aviation Administration grant funds to gradually build out the two-runway airport and seaplane dock in the Penobscot River and land nearby that is slated for an industrial park.
The plan builds on several aviation-based companies around the airport, which is off West Broadway and River Road, and expected nationwide increases in local airport usage. Millinocket’s regional airport is among several statewide following similar plans.
Lloyd said the town’s new hangar is full — five planes tied down for the winter — and that he could see the town building small t-shaped hangars for another three or four planes to increase airport revenues.
His Public Works Department workers are removing trees alongside the airport in down times. The terminal building is empty at the moment, but Lloyd hopes to use donated wireless Internet access and donated furniture to turn it into a lounge area for visiting pilots — another small way to help increase airport traffic, he said.
Anyone interested in donating office or lounge furniture to the airport can call the town office at 794-3372, Lloyd said.