The 100-acre employment park that the county commissioners would like to see become a part of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, thereby defraying airport expenses, was outlined in the greatest detail thus far offered, on Wednesday at the county commissioners’ meeting. The airport is the largest item in the county budget.
According to Shirley K. Frisch, chairman, land on both sides of the present airport entrance would be made available to tenants seeking to establish businesses “To employ the 150 people now on the Island who desperately need work,” but establishments that would require a great deal of water, or be dirty, would not be wanted.
Such a park, however, is still dependent upon the results of a survey, engineering studies of existing waterlines, underground electric lines and sewer system. If the estimate for a survey seems reasonable, the county commissioners could request the money to pay for it in their budget, and if salaries they are requesting in the budget for two county engineers are agreed to, an engineering study of the land could begin as soon as one was hired. “After that,” according to Mrs. Frisch, “we could have things like storage places that don’t require any services, in a matter of weeks.” (Last year, the budget was approved by the governor in March.)
Ultimately, however, if any full-scale development of the airport area for commercial purposes is deemed feasible, a request will be made to the federal Economic Development Agency for funds for that purpose. Such funds are supplied by the agency when they will help unemployment situations.
Still more land than that is now being considered (which is on the south side of the runway) would eventually be available for business, the commissioners hope. All income from the rental of land to an airport, however, must be put back into it, according to Federal Aviation Agency regulations.
Present plans are that three to six cents a square foot would be charged in rent. “We would base our rentals on one acre, so the minimum charge would be $100 a month,” Everett Rogers explained to Ronald Putnam and Curtis L. Collison of the Putnam Construction Company, who appeared at the commissioners’ meeting to inquire into the “employment park” plans of the commissioners. This, according to Mr. Rogers “is a lot cheaper” than most other comparable airport rental charges. Mr. Collison complimented the selectmen on their “ingenious” idea in “providing a nice setting for business that, at the same time, will not destroy the roadsides.”
The commissioners concluded their meeting by making a number of appointments and reappointments. Reappointed trustees of County Aid to Agriculture were Mrs. Elisha R. Smith, Mrs. Avis DePriest and Robert Norton. Appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mrs. Richard Prada was Mrs. Virginia Gonsalves.
Benjamin F. Morton Jr., whose term as Steamship Authority finance board member is expiring was renamed to that post, and Joseph R. Bernard was again appointed county dog officer.