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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Maine Officials Look to Brunswick Airport Opening as Key to Jumpstart Growth

  • April 4, 2011
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State and local officials are pointing to Saturday’s grand opening of a general aviation airport at Brunswick Naval Air Station as a vital step in the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority’s (MRRA) effort to convert the Navy base into Brunswick Landing, a high-tech business campus.

“We hope this will be the catalyst to help grow Maine’s economy in the aviation sector,” MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque told nearly 150 attendees.

“Already new jobs have been created and we can expect to see many more in the months and years ahead,” said Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree (D), who was joined at the grand opening by the rest of the state’s congressional delegation.

Levesque and Navy Capt. William Fitzgerald, base commander, arrived just prior to the ceremony in the first airplane to land at Brunswick Executive Airport. Levesque noted the symbolism, noting that the Navy had been MRRA’s co-pilot in turning the air station into a civilian airport, reported the Times Record.

“We’re sitting here in a public, privately owned airport while there’s an active mission going on around us,” he said.

The Navy previously handed over more than 715 acres of runways, hangars and other facilities to the authority via public benefit conveyance, the Navy’s first transfer of property at the 3,200-acre base in southern Maine. The Navy is set to close the rest of the base May 31.

MRRA has signed leases with a number of tenants, including startup manufacturer Kestrel Aircraft Co., which plans to build a newly designed single-engine turboprop aircraft at Brunswick. BXM — the FAA’s identifier for the airport — features two 8,000-foot runways, 650,000 square feet of hangar space and maintenance facilities, and a new instrument landing system.

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