Old airport hopes to make comeback as Catskills tourist attraction
WURTSBORO – New management at Wurtsboro Airport in Sullivan County hopes to breathe new life into the more than 80-year-old airfield that gained renown for years as a glider airport.
Airport Manager Daniel Depew has led the effort to give the facility a complete makeover from fresh paint on hangars, new concrete floors, new fencing, soon-to-be repaved runways and taxiways and refurbished airplanes and gliders.
“Wurtsboro has a history of being the oldest soaring airport in the nation and the gliders normally draw people for rides all the way up from New York City,” he said. “Back in the day, they used to do almost 200 tows a day here with gliders, so we’re trying to bring that back and make that a real destination, a real jewel of the Catskills for people to enjoy, and also bring business back to Mamakating and back to Sullivan County.”
The airport currently owns 10 aircraft with another 50 privately owned planes and gliders based there. Several vintage planes and gliders belonging to the airport have been restored to their original conditions, which is part of Depew’s vision of tying aviation history to modern day flying.
In addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work to already accomplished, Depew said they want to add a 1950s vintage diner as well as other amenities.
And, he said they want the airport to become more than an airfield, but a place for families to enjoy the outdoors, picnic and watch the planes and gliders. “We don’t want this to be a pilots’ yacht club,” he said.
Wurtsboro Airport will welcome the community back on Mother’s Day, May 11 when they hold an official grand reopening.
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