Airport management group marks successes

Staff reports

BENNINGTON — Amid cold and blustery weather, the Bennington Airport Development Corp. held a "thank you" ceremony Friday at Bennington Subaru.

Participants said the nonprofit corporation, which was formed to promote the William H. Morse State Airport in Bennington, was thanking Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, and the rest of the area's legislative delegation for helping to secure the group's arrangement with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

And members thanked Bennington Subaru for donating a gently used car to the airport for visiting pilots to use.

Charles Suss, president of BADC, said, "A little more than two years ago, some friends of mine flew their airplane here to Bennington on a Saturday. After they landed, they found themselves stranded. There was nobody at the front desk, and they could not get a taxi into town. They eventually gave up and left."

He added, "A few weeks after that, I met Senator Sears at a function in Woodford. When the subject of the airport came up, Dick Sears called it a non-performing asset. I agreed and told him the story of my friends frustrating experience."

From that conversation came the spark of an idea, organizers said. David Corey, John Likakis and Suss worked with Sears, state Sen. Brian Campion, D-Bennington, and state Rep. Tim Corcoran, D-Bennington, and out of that effort came the nonprofit organization.

"Dick Sears' encouragement and behind-the-scenes efforts led to our little non-profit entering a deal with the state to run the airport and encourage both aviation and economic activity," said Suss.

It has been two years since BADC began working on this concept, and today Bennington's airport is home to a Hildt Aviation, a new maintenance operation, and Green Mountain Skydiving, a thriving parachute-jumping operation, BADC members said.

They said the airport also is fortunate to have two courtesy cars, they said, one donated by the town of Bennington, and the Subaru donated by Isaac Simon and Jeff Scarinza of Bennington Subaru.

Pilots and their passengers can now borrow a courtesy car and head into town to shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants or see our attractions, the group said.

"We felt this was a great way to say `thank you' to Senator Sears, Senator Campion, and Representative Corcoran for their vision, efforts, and follow-through to make Bennington Airport a vital part of growing our local economy," Suss said. "We look forward to continuing our efforts, and to working with our entire delegation and the town of Bennington to drive economic growth through aviation."


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