COLONIE The Town of Colonie and the Albany International Airport killed two birds with one stone on Wednesday, Sept. 7, after demolishing two buildings that formerly belonged to an airport parking service, Park and Fly, that were left abandoned and in disrepair.
This not only helped remove what was considered an eyesore for the Town of Colonie, but it also helped clear out the airport’s Runway Protection Zone. According to the airport, that zone is considered to be the obstacle free zone beyond the ends of the runways. They are created to prevent any obstructions that could create problems for a plane.
“Federal Aviation Administration provides funds to remove obstructions but what they really are, are hazards,” said John O’Donnell, CEO of the Albany County Airport. “In the event an aircraft comes in short, what they want to see are open field conditions. They want a very level plane, and we have an opportunity here in Albany to do that.”
With farmland surrounding the southern part of the airport, O’Donnell said the airport decided to purchase the two buildings earlier this year so it could take them down and clear more of a path. The total amount of the project cost $138,000 since the airport not only purchased the buildings but also the land they stand on.
“This is just going to be open field conditions,” he said, adding that there are no plans to build anything on that property. “We’re going to remove the pavement, remove the taller trees. It’s all about safety, making it safer for the people flying in and out of Albany Airport. [The buildings] have never been an active problem but we just want to make the airport safer. It’s one more level of safety like the removal of the Latham Water Tower.”
Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan said it is just another eyesore that is gone in the Town of Colonie. She said she understands the want to make things safer for the people on the plane and the areas near where the plane might be landing.
“This is all part of making the area safer as far as traveling, but the other part of it to is it also fits into our plan of really cleaning up abandoned homes and other areas that are underutilized,” she said. “The Albany Airport Authority is a great neighbor and we work very well with them and this is just another project that works well for us.”