The LaFleur Airport requires close coordination with consulting engineers, MaineDOT and FAA. Two projects were initiated in 2014; repaving the main runway and tree clearing adjacent to the Airport.
Construction of the main runway began in mid-spring and was completed in July. The project was on schedule and under budget, in large part to the efforts of the construction team of: Randy Marshall, Airport Manager; Lane Construction, the General Contractor; and Stantec Engineering, the City’s airports consultant. Further details of this project can be found in the Airport Manager’s report in the City’s 2014-15 Annual Report.
Future tree clearing around the airport is related to the main runway, but, is a series of separate projects. Tree management on adjacent landowners’ property requires easements. Some trees may have to be removed periodically, while other options include limiting tree species to those that do not grow tall enough to impact aircraft operations. A Federal process must be followed to obtain easements. Once easements are obtained, a vegetative management plan, acceptable to the FAA, must be implemented.
Tree clearing on City property surrounding the airport is similar in nature. While the City could just clear cut offending trees, it may be more desirable to manage this area as a select species forest, to benefit all potential users. An extensive network of trails exists on the eastern side of the airport, on both City and private land. About 100 acres of contiguous property stretches from KMD to Webb Road. After a number of discussion with Parks and Recreation, some private land owners, and trail volunteers who maintain the trails, the decision was made to consider an Urban Forest for this area. The United States Forest Service offers Project Canopy grants that may allow us to maintain the forested nature of the area to preserve habitat, allow trail use thru the area, and to prevent trees from penetrating the FAA mandated air space. Parks and Recreation and this office will move this concept forward to present a grant option to City Council.