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Expansion at Watertown International made possible by state grant

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Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III sounded like an interior decorator, albeit a municipally minded one, Friday morning as he discussed the county’s plans for a facelift at Watertown International Airport near Dexter.

Thanks to a $451,800 award from the state’s Transit and Aviation Capital Grants Program, the county is undertaking a 12,000- to 14,000-square-foot expansion at the northwest corner of the airport’s terminal, Mr. Hagemann said.

The addition will allow the county to move the Transportation Security Administration’s equipment away from the waiting room area and give more space to passengers waiting for their flights.

There is now only one unisex bathroom in the secured area. The expansion also will free up an unused bathroom blocked by TSA equipment, Mr. Hagemann said.

The grant will cover most of the project, which is estimated to cost $502,000 and projected to begin in the spring.

The county is looking toward further expansion projects if the airport continues to grow. This project will allow the county to expand the passenger waiting area without interfering with security equipment in the future, Mr. Hagemann said.

The county applied for the grant in June 2012 but didn’t have high hopes that its application would be approved, according to Airport Manager James L. Lawrence Jr.

“It’s good news. We’re thrilled. We’re pleasantly surprised,” Mr. Hagemann said.

Potsdam Municipal Airport was awarded $126,000 for a $140,000 fuel farm project and the Port of Oswego Authority received $1,105,000 for a rail infrastructure rehabilitation project through the same program.

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