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Update on airport: Administrative synergy achieved

Dear Editor:

As secretary of the Fayette County Airport Authority (FCAA), I would like to give a status report to the public and express my appreciation to the news media for its informative coverage of our activities for developing of the Connellsville Airport. Also, I would like to thank those prominent officials, e.g. Gov. Ed Rendell, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, state senators Rick Santorum and Richard Kasunic, commissioners Vincent Vicites, Sean Cavanagh and Ron Nehls, Mike Kolesar of the Bureau of Aviation, PennDOT and so many others for their steadfast support and funding upon which our projects so vitally depend.

I am proud to be a member of the FCAA team that has synchronized itself so well and can concentrate solely on creating a facility that promises to advance economic progress for all of Fayette County. We have formed a method of operation whereby each member contributes a different area of expertise, thus avoiding duplication of effort. Accordingly, we have achieved administrative synergy generally found in successful private enterprises.

To highlight some examples, the HAZMAT building is now under construction and the $2.5 million FACT building will go to construction to create an intermodel transportation center. The design for a new terminal building and parking area is now complete. Phase 1 of the master plan was finished ahead of schedule and Phase 2 is currently under way. It included infrastructure projects such as building T-hangers, taxiways, access roads, storm water and sewage systems, environmental assessments, runway safety, and most importantly, the runway extension, all of which are in various stages of engineering and construction. All the FAA & BOA grant projects that were started in the past year and a half have been completed on time. This has never been accomplished in the recent history of the Connellsville Airport.

We have achieved momentum that must be maintained without interruption. Thanks to the media support, we are gaining increased attention from important government agencies that are now recognizing a dynamic and dedicated authority board. Consequently, they are now willing to get behind an effort, which they believe, will be successful. The media has also been very helpful with the most important component of our endeavors, i.e. informing and educating the public whose support can make or break everything we are trying to do.

Another initiative we are pursuing is finding and cooperating with the private developers, who will invest in the area around the airport. Bringing in new businesses will promote commerce and create jobs. It will also expand the tax base for residents in Dunbar Township and recognize the city of Connellsville by use of the airport name.

Following a series of working meeting, we have reached agreements with local developers, Airport Enterprises, LLC, that are now in the process of doing just that.

After several years of people shifting around, the county commissioners have found the right combination of board members to accomplish these programs and to keep them on a fast track. In fact, during the short year and a half that we have been together, this board has exceeded everyone’s predictions and is moving ahead of schedule. Barring any unforeseen upheavals, we, as unpaid volunteers, intend to continue devoting whatever time and effort is necessary to see this program through to completion.

Timothy Mahoney,

secretary, Fayette County

Airport Authority,

Uniontown


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