MAYVILLE – An emergency meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature was held Monday afternoon to consider a resolution to change the work order at the Dunkirk Airport to include tree and brush removal.
According to Sam Arcadipane, manager of airports for the county, the Federal Aviation Administration visited the facility and requested that tree and brush removal be done to improve visibility.
The resolution was to add additional funding for obstruction removal. The total cost of the tree and brush removal is projected at $296,120. The project was put out for bid by the FAA and the contractor for the renovations at the airport. S. St. George of Fredonia was the lowest bidder on the project and will be awarded the contract.
The county’s local share of the cost is $16,451. According to the resolution, $5,000 of the local share was already appropriated. The $11,451 balance will be paid from the county’s fund balance.
The motion to approve the work passed with a vote of 16-5. Among the votes against the work was Legislator Keith Ahlstrom, D-Dunkirk. He said he voted against the measure because he believes the county should sell the airport.
“I don’t think we should take any more federal money for work at the airport,” he said. “It will just make it harder to sell to a private owner in the long run.”
The airport has been under extensive renovations. Arcadipane said the anticipated completion date for the runway work and other improvements is mid-October.
Prior to approval at the legislators’ meeting, the measure was approved by the Public Facilities Committee. Legislator Larry Barmore, R-Gerry, said he would have been opposed to the legislation except that he had viewed the areas and felt they were dangerous. He said that tree brush appeared to obstruct the view and that brush, trees and swamp in the vicinity attracted animals like deer and birds that could pose hazards for pilots.