Orange Municipal Airport receives $184K in federal funds

  • Afternoon sunlight gleams off the runway at the Orange Municipal Airport. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

Athol Daily News Editor
Published: 8/16/2023 4:23:51 PM
Modified: 8/16/2023 4:23:49 PM

ORANGE — With the announcement of $184,320 in funding through the Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program, Orange Municipal Airport will begin work on a large-scale fencing project.

Along with $20,480 split between the state Department of Transportation and its own accounts, Airport Manager Leonard Bedaw said this $184,320 will cover the design, permitting and construction costs for 11,500 feet of 8-foot-tall fencing along the west side of the facility at 80 Airport St. It’s expected the fencing will be fully installed by next year.

Bedaw said the fencing completes a project that began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when the airport began installing it along the facility’s perimeter. This latest round will help prevent wildlife from wandering onto the property from the wetlands and wooded areas along the west side.

Coyotes and deer have been a frequent problem, according to Bedaw. Either he, an employee who works weekends or officials from the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife have to regularly patrol the area. If an animal is seen, it has to be put down, since it could just walk back onto the site, he said.

“We patrol daily, sometimes several times a day,” he said.

Along with Orange, several other Massachusetts airports are receiving funding through the FAA program, including Worcester Regional, Norwood Memorial, Nantucket Memorial and Cape Cod Gateway airports. All told, approximately $14 million has been distributed and will be used for runway rehabilitation and buying emergency vehicles.

In an announcement made on Aug. 10, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, described these airports as “critical hubs” that connect the state.

“From Franklin County to Worcester to the cape, this new federal funding will pave the way forward by building new taxiways and runways that will serve generations of travelers to come,” he said in a statement. “I’m proud to have worked with local partners and MassDOT to secure this funding to invest in infrastructure and emergency response so these airports can continue to be a boon to our economy. Massachusetts airports deserve the resources they need to deliver safe, reliable service in the face of extreme weather events and climate disasters.”

In March, Markey introduced the Airport Infrastructure Resilience Act that would direct the transportation secretary to create a pilot program to provide grants to airports for the planning, design and construction of projects that improve climate resilience and ensure a readiness to respond to climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters. That same month, he and his colleagues Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, Peter Welch and Deb Fischer introduced the Airline Operational Resiliency Act to ensure that airline companies are ready to respond to extreme weather events.

Max Bowen can be reached at 413-930-4074 or

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