ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A southeast New Mexico city is trying to become a national player in something outside the oil and gas industry. Roswell wants to be the place airlines go to fix up their planes.
Wednesday, the city of Roswell received an $800,000 grant to fix up a hangar at the airport and the city has big dreams for the project.
Work is already underway on the Dean Baldwin hangar at the Roswell airport.
“Literally 20 years have gone by with this building having issues with its roof,” said Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh.
The hangar, which has been poorly maintained since the closing of Walker Air Force Base in ’67, needs roof and electrical repairs that will set the city back a good chunk.
“The total cost is around $4.6 million,” said Mayor Kintigh.
In August, the city announced funds would come from the city and from a state loan. Wednesday, part of that burden was lifted when the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded $800,000 to the city for renovations on the airport hangar.
“Rarely are people paying attention like Roswell to figure out what we can do to bring planes from all over the country and maybe all over the world here,” explained Congressman Steve Pearce.
Their goal is to make Roswell a national hub for aviation repairs.
“Roswell understands that, yes, you have a piece of the oil and gas, you have some government spending here and you have some agriculture, but let’s go a brand new direction,” Pearce added.
Residents are excited about the potential.
“I think it is phenomenal. It is such an economic support for our community and can bring in so many more jobs for the industry of the repairs and aviation maintenance,” said Kathy Lay of Roswell.
Two-hundred people already work at the Dean Baldwin hangar. They hope to add up to 50 more jobs once the work is done. The project is expected to be complete in about a year.