Federal And State Funds To Cover Most Of Purchase Price
With a favorable report from a private study, significant
community support, and federal and state funds available for the
purchase, all indicators point toward finalization of a deal for
the purchase of Robertson Airport (4B8) by the city of Plainville,
CT in 2009.
The Hartford Courant reports Plainville officials have reached
an agreement with airport owner Tomasso Brothers Inc. on a purchase
price of $5.8 million. Pending negotiations on the purchase of an
adjacent 25,000 square-foot hangar owned by Victor Tomasso for
another $1.5 to $2 million, the issue will be bought to public
referendum this year.
The Federal Aviation Administration is prepared to kick in funds
covering ninety-five percent of the cost, and with the state of
Connecticut contributing another 3.75 percent, the city of
Plainville would only have to come up with a little less than
$100,000 to close the deal.
Plainville Town Manager Robert Lee said, "They aren't making any
more airports. The FAA considers Robertson as a critical
acquisition," helping to ease the burden on busy hub airports. "For
the community, it's an opportunity to preserve a landmark." The
city's purchase of the property is also seen as a victory by locals
seeking to keep out land developers.
The only requirement to get the funding is that the city agrees
to keep the airport open. Longtime Robertson operator Interstate
Aviation is expected to lease facilities from the city, as it has
from Tomasso for over 30 years.
Interstate's Bob Nardiello indicated the company is content to
remain. "We run a charter business, the flight instruction
business, we sell kerosene and gasoline, and we've been around a
long time," he said. "The [aircraft] maintenance shop has been in
business 35 years."
Robertson Airport began its long history in 1911, making it
Connecticut's oldest airport. It is named in honor of Stamford
Robertson, a World War II veteran who renovated and updated the
airport in 1947.