Authority approves art for new regional airport terminal

A portion of a bare wall in the new Williamsport Regional Airport terminal has been claimed as the municipal airport authority approved an agreement Thursday with Lycoming Arts to accept a piece made by local artist Fred Gilmour.

Authority board member Rebecca Burke was the sole “no” vote against the agreement, stating she felt, rather than immediately accepting Lycoming Arts’ gift, the airport should set requirements and open wall space up for artwork submissions so that all interested artists have the opportunity to submit something.

“I’m not going to fall on my sword for this,” she said. “But no one else knows that that opportunity is there. I just think it’s an unfair playing field.”

Other major artworks displayed in the area were based on submissions, she added.

“This is somebody giving us a gift,” said fellow member Dr. Bill Martin.

“What happens if Suzie Smith tells us, ‘I’d like to give you this gift of art to hang in your airport,’ “ Burke replied. “There are no parameters, no guides. Do we tell Suzie Smith no when we told the other artist yes?”

“I’m just saying the opportunity should be made, at the same time, for anyone that’s interested in submitting,” she added.

Doing such a thing may be a possibility in the future, but there’s no reason to turn down the piece from Lycoming Arts in the process, commented solicitor Scott T. Williams.

“There’s a lot of bare wall,” agreed Thomas Hart, airport executive director.

The agreement states the airport will pay nothing for the piece, is not responsible for the installation and will return it to Gilmour should it decide to remove the piece, Williams said.

The new terminal is about 96 percent complete with 17 construction days remaining, Hart reported. Substantial completion is scheduled for Aug. 26 with opening day still slated for Oct. 1.

Sidewalks are nearly complete, as is the wiring, window and drywall installation. Roadwork is scheduled to begin next week, starting in front of the new building, Hart said.

In another matter, when Major League Baseball teams, the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, arrive in town for the second MLB Little League Classic on Aug. 19, the airport will be limited-access for a three-hour window, Hart said. Aviators will be able to land and take their planes to their hangars during this time but, if they intend to depart, they’ll have to retrieve their planes early and go to a designated take-off area, he said.

In other business, the board:

• Awarded two contracts, in the amounts of $641,808 and $710,773, to HRI Inc. for taxiway reconstruction and to rehabilitate a runway, respectively.

• Approved the following bill payments for work on the new terminal: $747,499 to Lobar Inc., $41,420 to LTS Plumbing and Heating, $109,456 to TRA Electric and $15,309 to Master Mechanical Corporation.

• Approved payments in the amounts of $78,583 and $122,265 to Bronder Technical Services Inc. for airport improvement projects.

The next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the airport.