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The airport will be shutdown for a couple months this spring to complete a $6.9 million paving project.

Pittsfield Airport to Have Runway Repaved; Solar Array Installed

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The airport is expected to be shut down for 85 days this spring for the reconstruction of the main runway.
The City Council's Finance Subcommittee voted affirmatively on the borrowing to repave both of the airport's runways. The total project will cost $6.9 million, which is 95 percent paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration. The city's cost will be $349,735.
"We are required to authorize the entire project amount and that is reduced by any grants that come in to support the project," Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood said.
Airport Commission Chairman Tom Sakshaug said the airport will be completely shut down on April 30. The main runway will be paved. The smaller runway will be done right after and will be shut down for an additional 55 days.
Sakshaug said the Airport Commission had a number of possibilities but ultimately decided to do the paving all at once.
The project has been a long time coming. At one point it had been included in the massive airport extension project but got pulled from that scope. In fiscal 2016, the City  Council approved $3.5 million for the paving. But, then prices were estimated to come in higher. In fiscal 2017, the City Council authorized another $2.6 million.
"It was clear that the original $3.5 [million] plus the $2.6 [million] were not enough," Kerwood said.
Kerwood said since then the engineering has been completed and the bids for construction came in at $6.9 million and the two authorizations were at $6.1 million. The subcommittee approved combining both of those authorizations and then increasing the total.
The finance director added that in the future, administrators will wait until having a final price with the FAA before asking for an authorization — thus avoiding revisiting the authorization multiple times.
Meanwhile, the airport is also set to host two solar arrays. With Oak Leaf Energy Partners, the committee agreed to a 30-year lease, 20 in the initial term and followed by two five-year extensions. The agreement would bring between of $3.1 million and $6.8 million to the airport in lease payments and $6.5 million to the city for tax payments.
Consultant Beth Greenblatt said the agreement is in place, but the actual total will depend on when the state approves the tax incentives. Greenblatt said the state's Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program — which replaced the SREX tax incentives — is based more on timing that it is revenue. She said there are various blocks.
Once a block is filled up, the next block provides lower incentives. Greenblatt has agreements in place with Oak Leaf for three different blocks, depending on where it falls in the program.
"It is less of a technical issue but more of a timing issue to when the project qualifies under the smart program," Greenblatt said.
Assessor Paula King said, "We're not really estimating. We are just giving you the different scenarios ... these are hard numbers but it depends on what block we enter into."

Tags: pittsfield airport,   solar array,   

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Mazzeo Picks Up Support From Eliminated Mayoral Candidates

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Melissa Mazzeo thanks the two eliminated candidates for their support.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The two mayoral candidates eliminated in Tuesday's preliminary election have thrown their support to Melissa Mazzeo. 
Karen Kalinowsky and Scott Graves stood beside the top vote-getter on Tuesday to say she best represented the platforms they'd run on. The endorsement took place on the steps of City Hall, just outside the office of Mayor Linda Tyer, who is seeking a second four-year term. 
"She has my beliefs," said Graves, owner of the Rusty Anchor whose candidacy pointed to what he says are hurdles to local business. "I want to take care of crime and help strengthen the city and make it grow ... hopefully, also really focus on business and getting more businesses here and existing ones to expand."
Kalinowsky, a retired police officer, said she knew from the beginning that she and Mazzeo shared the same concerns when it came to the schools, accountability of the administration, the streets and crime.
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