County considers closing airport
by Christopher Crosby, Staff Writer Sun Journal Feb. 26, 2014
PARIS — County officials are exploring the possibility of shutting down the Oxford County Regional Airport's runway, one of several options under review in the face of mounting costs and little use.
Officials have been grappling with the situation since the county evicted the airport's sole tenant — Oxford Aviation, an airplane refurbishment business — last year for violating the conditions of their lease.
Because it's an unmanned facility, there's no firm tally on the number of pilots taking off and landing. Although the runway is open, it's widely believed traffic has ground to a halt, in part because of a spell when there was no gasoline for pilots to refuel.
To offset its own bills and re-establish traffic, the county is attempting to woo new suitors to run an aviation business inside the hangars.
Those efforts run afoul of significant financial hurdles: The buildings are in disrepair, requiring several hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of workthat officials hope a prospective business will pay.
According to County Administrator Scott Cole, discussions with several businesses have been under way for several months. Glen Holmes, director of economic development for Community Concepts, a Lewiston-based nonprofit, said by phone Friday that advanced negotiations with an airplane refurbishment business are ongoing, with a chance for a deal to be wrapped up in the spring.
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