The formal groundbreaking for the hangar and operations center for Penobscot Island Air was held Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 21 at the Knox County Regional Airport.

The 10,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed in September 2022. The estimated cost is $5.7 million and is being paid for from the nearly $18 million in CARES Act money that Knox County received last year for the airport.

Airport Manager Jeremy Shaw said the project is the realization of a dream by Kevin Waters who operated Penobscot Island Air from 2004 until his death in July 2020.

“Kevin stepped in to provide air service to the islands when they were left with none,” Shaw said. “He mortgaged most of what he had to start his air service and keep it alive. And that he did.”

Knox County Administrator said the amount of CARES Act money was unexpected and that when it was announced by the federal government, he had to check to make sure it was not a mistake. The money is being used to make improvements to the airport that will make a better place and community.

He said the air service has done a lot for the islands and the area community.

The operations center will be used as a hangar, offices, and a mezzanine for storage of parts and equipment.

The general contractor is Nickerson and O’Day. The architects are from 2A Architects. Stantec Consulting is also involved in the project.

Shaw said the project will support local jobs and contribute to the economy.