Planes on the tarmac at Brunswick Executive Airport at Brunswick Landing, as seen in 2020. Courtesy of MRRA

A $4.1 million infrastructure improvement program is currently underway at Brunswick Landing.

The improvements are part of the former naval air station’s long-term redevelopment, which has been guided by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority since the base was decommissioned in 2011.

Projects outlined in this year’s plan include airport maintenance and runway repaving, an extension to the Allagash walking trail, electric vehicle charging stations (one at the airport terminal building and another at TechPlace), street paving and repair, a new wayfinding and sign program, construction of a new road, water and electrical improvements and LED streetlights.

According to Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Steve Levesque, MRRA does a capital improvement program annually, and this year’s expenditure is comparatively average.

Levesque said that work began in July, and some building improvement and airport projects are already done or underway. Most projects will be completed before the end of June 2022, Levesque said, although some paving work will stretch further.

Funding comes from a combination of federal, state and municipal sources as well as from MRRA’s own reserves. On Monday, the Brunswick council authorized the town’s $748,600 portion.

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“This is really ambitious, I’m really happy to see it,” said Town Councilor Chris Watkinson, whose district encompasses Brunswick Landing.

At Monday’s meeting, Watkinson highlighted the electric vehicle charging stations and LED streetlights, which align with recent municipal projects, as well as the road paving schedule, which Watkinson said constituents have asked about in the past.

According to an August report from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, 2,464 full- and part-time employees work at the landing. The landing hosts around 150 companies and operates on its own renewable energy grid.

The entire former base makes up 3,372 acres, according to the same report, and as of August, MRRA had received about 1,936 acres of the approximately 2,258 acres they are scheduled to receive from the Navy.

Redevelopment efforts started about 10 years ago, and will continue for the foreseeable future, said Levesque, who will be retiring at the end of 2021 after 16 years. The initial plan was for redevelopment to take between 20-30 years, he said.

In May, The Times Record reported that the landing now surpasses the previous Navy payroll of $150 million.

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“We are probably there now, that we are equaling the economic impact that was here when the base was fully, fully rolling,” said Levesque. “That’s pretty amazing, and we’re doing much better than most places in the country.”

Looking ahead, Kristine Logan, MRRA’s deputy director of innovation and development and director of TechPlace, will take over the executive director role in January.

Levesque said there are plans for Brunswick Landing to incorporate a science and biotech center, become a hub for Maine space initiatives and focus on research and development for 5G technologies.

Sally Costello, Brunswick’s Economic Development Director, said that the town works with MRRA to manage the growth in and around Brunswick Landing and to expand economic opportunities, protect the natural environment and encourage diversity among Brunswick’s workforce and resident population.

“Landing Drive is an excellent example of a public investment that supports the mission and redevelopment efforts of MRRA,” Costello wrote in an email. “It provides a key roadway connection through Brunswick Landing to residential housing and the Cook’s Corner commercial service center.  It is our goal to continue to invest in improvements that allow for greater connectivity within Brunswick Landing and the surrounding area.”

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