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DPW applies for ‘Golden Feather’ grant

By Fritz Mayer
February 15, 2012

People who follow the beautification programs of Sullivan Renaissance are familiar with the “Golden Feather Award,” which is given out each year for projects done mostly by volunteers that “incorporate beautification as part of a long-term community-wide strategy.”

This year, the county Department of Public Works (DPW) is applying for a Golden Feather Grant, which, according to Denise Frangipane, program development officer for Sullivan Renaissance, is separate from the award. She said there will also be a Golden Feather Award as part of the beautification program this year.

Regarding the grant, DPW commissioner Bob Meyer appeared before the legislature on February 9, and said DPW has been working with Sullivan Renaissance over the past couple of years to spruce up Sullivan County International Airport.

He said workers have resurfaced floors and repainted the walls in the terminal building, reupholstered chairs and done some renovations in the Altitude Café. He said the work also included landscaping and hanging pictures. Frangipane said the work was paid for by the Gerry Foundation.

Meyer said the reason for improving the airport is because it’s one of the “gateways” to the county, where “visitors form their first impressions and their last impressions.” He said grants from the Federal Aviation Administration are usually targeted to such items as runways and taxiways, and not terminal buildings, which is the structure at the airport that now needs attention. He said the Golden Feather Grant is worth $75,000, and was secured through Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s office.

Legislator Kitty Vetter asked about the demographics of airport users.

Meyer said that there are thousands of take-offs and landings each year, and that there are private planes and corporate planes. He added, “There is usage at the airport that corresponds with Bethel Woods… and we have a spike during the camp season; a number of families fly in to visit their children or drop them off or pick them up.”

Legislature chair Scott Samuelson said that he greets clients at the airport, takes them on tours of The Chapin Estate, then takes them back; some customers who stay at the Bradstan Country Hotel come through the airport.

Frangipane added, “They see up to 200 flights per day. Also, a lot of recreational fliers stop in to have lunch at the café.”

Lawmaker Kathy LaBuda said there is no county match with this grant, so there would be no county cost. The consensus of the legislators was that the DPW should apply for the grant.

The exterior of the terminal building at Sullivan County International Airport in Bethel, NY may be spruced up with money from a grant.