City holds ribbon cutting ceremony for new hangar buildings

MORGANTOWN — A celebration two years and $4 million in the making was held Thursday as the City of Morgantown hosted a ribbon cutting for three new T-hangar buildings at the Morgantown Municipal Airport.
A number of city, county and state officials were on hand for the ceremony, which was well-attended despite rainy, overcast weather.
Two of the buildings will hold a total of 32 single-engine aircraft. Of that number, 28 are already spoken for at a rate of $240 monthly.
The third building will hold 13 twin engine craft, providing a storage option not available anywhere else in the area, according to City Manager Paul Brake. Two of those hangar spaces have been secured at a monthly cost of $300.
Tenants in the current hangar building — built prior to World War II — were given first dibs at the new spaces.
Brake said the next phase will be demolition of that old structure, freeing up valuable real estate near the airport’s terminal building.
The construction of the hangars east of the runway fulfills an obligation to the Federal Aviation Administration,  through which the city secured funding for the access road that runs from W.Va. 857, past the new hangars, and  back to the West Virginia National Guard Readiness Center.
Mayor Bill Kawecki said the hangars are tangible evidence that progress is being made, even if it sometimes takes longer than he would like.
“Sometimes you’re like a kid in the back of the car asking, ‘Are we there yet,’ But every once in a while you see a landmark, and it’s an indication that you actually are making progress on your journey,” Kawecki said. “This is our landmark. And this is the beginning of something that we  hope will continue on and be beneficial to our community.”
The hangars are part of the opening salvo of airport improvements that, pending some critical documentation from the Federal Aviation Administration, will also include a business park and 1,001-foot runway extension.
Ron Justice sits on the Monongalia County Development Authority, the driving force behind the business park expected to go hand-in-hand with the runway extension.
“If you look at the big picture, this is just another step in the overall project. The readiness center has been delivered, and now the hangars have been delivered. The next round is the commerce park,” Justice said, noting the progress is an indication of “an even brighter future for the airport and the city.”
The ceremony included remarks from Governor Jim Justice, read by Deputy Mayor Jenny Selin, and remarks from Senator Joe Manchin, D W.Va., provided by his representative, Ryan Thorn.
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