$27 Million Project Breaks Ground Despite Fickle Economy
Confidence in the potential of Sikorsky Memorial Airport in
Stratford, CT is running high as a major upgrade gets underway.
Shared by the communities of Stratford and Bridgeport, the airport
will soon benefit from a new terminal, office buildings, and
hangars at the facility that's not been updated in decades.
The Connecticut Post reports an enthusiastic ground-breaking
ceremony took place last Thursday, with over 75 people in
attendance. Spearheaded by aircraft management firm Volo Aviation
LLC, the project brings professionals from the area as key
"Building stuff is great," Mark Coe, Volo's VP of Development
said. "This is the first one, so far," added Bruce Beinfield of
Beinfield Architecture. "It is exciting to work on an airport." The
firm intends to incorporate some of the important history of the
airport into the design of the new buildings.
Tearing down the old terminal and a few other buildings will
make way for a new three-story terminal and office building. Also
planned for construction are two new hangars and a new office
building, creating 135,000 square feet of space. The first new
building, housing the airport's management, is slated to be ready
in six months, with the rest of the project coming to completion in
Not surprisingly, some are opposed to the project, fearing
increased activity and extended runways. The two neighboring
haven't always seen eye to eye on the airport,
Physically located in Stratford but owned by Bridgeport, control
and taxation have already been an issue. Placating the two sides,
Volo has agreed to pay rent to Bridgeport, and about $200,000
annually to Stratford in lieu of taxes.
The airport has the interest of the mayors of both cities, who
were also in attendance. Stratford Mayor James Miron, recognizing
the support of the local business community, agreed to the
significance of the project.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch referred to the potential of the
"sleeping giant" airport. "My dad used to cut grass here before I
was born," he said, viewing the green expanse. "It hasn't
Volo President Thom Harrow said the upgrade plan has been in the
works for about five years, and is seen as necessary despite the
current downturn of the economy.
More than just providing new offices for Volo's 60
Stratford-based employees, the project is also designed to correct
the mismatch of stepping off a plane representing a $30 million
dollar investment and into a 60-year-old airport terminal, he