March 27, 2019
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Chinese developer, helicopter company made offers for local airfield, owner says

Rich Beauchesne | Portsmouth Herald
Rich Beauchesne | Portsmouth Herald
Jean Hardy stands on the runway at the Littlebrook Air Park in Eliot in this Portsmouth Herald file photo.

ELIOT, Maine — The owner of the 90-acre Littlebrook Air Park asked the Select Board to consider the future of her property.

Jean Hardy, whose family has owned Littlebrook Air Park since 1971, asked the board on Thursday if the new Tax Increment Financing Committee might consider options for the future of the air park off Beech Road.

“I’m at a crossroads,” she said. “I’m getting old and most of my family members don’t live in Eliot.”

She said they have been approached by buyers to establish a helicopter operation with 60 take-offs and landings per day.

“We live in this community and we did not want this,” Hardy said.

[Eliot farmers lift, restore Civil War-era barn very carefully]

She also said a Chinese company wanted to start a large flight school. The family accepted neither offer.

Before Pease Air Force Base became a civilian airport, Hardy said she and her husband were told that with the runway reconfigured, large jets could use it.

Hardy said the airport is a grandfathered use. She asked if the new TIF Committee could consider uses for it. She said she would like to have the property conserved.

“It’s beautiful land and I don’t want to see it developed,” she said.

The new TIF committee will consider uses for the TIF fund, which was set up in 2009 for improving infrastructure in the Route 236 TIF district. Littlebrook Air Park is not in the district. Lee said Hardy has discussed the airport with him and said he will speak with the TIF committee about it.

The Select Board on Thursday appointed members to the new TIF Committee. They are Ed Henningsen, Charles Bradstreet, Mike Moynahan, Mike Dupuis and Sarah Plocharczyk, with alternates Randall Stewart and Caleb Sloan.

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