MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Queen City could have one of the first vertiports in the country if efforts recommended by the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Committee on Community Improvement are successful.
During their meeting on Tuesday, the Committee recommended that the city sponsor attempts by DEKA to pursue grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The grant funding comes in the 80/20 splits and requires sponsorship by a municipality, but DEKA spokesperson David Rogers says that the 20 percent would be fundraised by DEKA and its corporate sponsors, requiring no taxpayer funding to pursue.
Efforts toward pursuing the grant funding come in part from a request by the Millyard’s Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute or ARMI, which sought a quick way to quickly transport human tissue to regional hospitals.
With a new fully-electric vertical liftoff vehicle being pioneered by BETA, one of DEKA’s corporate partners, it would be possible to fly from a vertiport in Manchester and reach hospitals and research facilities in Boston or the Upper Valley in less than an hour.
The grant will help fund planning for the project in areas like engineering cost estimates, environmental narrative and other various logistical needs.
It remains to be seen whether the vertiport would be located in the Millyard, at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, or somewhere else in Manchester.
Several hours later, the full Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the request recommended by the committee due to the time-sensitive nature of the grant request.
According to Rogers, while there is no deadline for the grants, they are offered on a first-come/first-serve basis. If done quickly, Manchester could claim the title of having potentially the first fully-electric vertiport in the U.S., with the Queen City facing competition against Lake Nona, Florida.