Brunswick may never be the same without an active Navy base in town, but an announcement last week suggested that the future may not end up being so bad after all.

Kestrel Aircraft Co. announced that it has decided to locate its high-tech manufacturing plant for a new composite turboprop aircraft in a now-vacant hangar at Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Engineers at the plant will complete the development of the new passenger plane. Once the design gets federal certification, the planes will be built in a facility that was originally built for the Navy.

Kestrel is a perfect fit for the Brunswick redevelopment authority, which identified aviation and businesses that use composites as the kinds of companies that they hoped to attract. They also went looking for manufacturing plants to come into the old military base because of the good-paying jobs that those kinds of businesses produce and the way they stimulate economic activity in a community.

Kestrel has plans to grow to employ up to 300 people, which doesn’t sound like much compared to the 4,000 naval personnel who worked at BNAS, but this company could be just the beginning.

There is much more space at the facility that would be attractive to other aviation businesses and they will be attracted by Kestrel, which is run by Alan Klapmeier, an industry leader.

Brunswick, Klapmeier said, used to be a “hole in the middle of the state” for aviation, because of military flight restrictions. Now it has the potential of being a “black hole” that pulls aviation businesses into the region with the attraction of its facilities. It may take a while for this future to develop, but this first step is a promising step for Maine.