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Visitors to Boutique Air’s open house at Massena International Airport last year wait to board a Pilatus PC-12. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The town of Massena has received more than $700,000 in grant funding to make some improvements at the Massena International Airport.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, announced Thursday that the town had been awarded $727,000 in U.S. Department of Transportation Airport Improvement Program grant funding. The Airport Improvement Program provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports.

Airport Manager Frank Diagostino said the project will rehabilitate the aging pavement at the airport’s general aviation apron. The apron is located adjacent to the airport’s fueling facility, making it a highly-used area for based and transient aircraft. The rehabilitation will make it easier for airport staff to maintain the apron and will ensure aircraft can safely use it.

The funding will also be used to reroute underground electrical conduits that are located below the apron pavement and run to the adjacent fuel facility. Mr. Diagostino said the conduits are contributing to pavement distress because they’re buried shallow and cause cracking in the pavement during seasonal free and thaw cycles.

He said there will be another benefit to rerouting the conduits. It will allow them to power the fuel facility from a different location that’s connected to emergency generator power. That will allow them to continue fueling aircraft when there’s no power, including during large-scale weather emergencies.

“The grant will be used to resurface the ramp and redirect the power source to the fuel station, which will allow the employees to fuel planes during any catastrophe where the power is down,” Mr. Diagostino said.

“There are two generators in there. This makes our airport much more viable. If there were a catastrophe with power outages, we would still be able to fuel planes,” Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy said.

In a statement, Ms. Stefanik said the grant “will allow the airport to expand its service to residents of the North Country and continue to provide travel service to those visiting our area.”

She said she would continue to advocate for infrastructure and development projects to help boost the north country economy.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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