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05-07-2007

Clarkson Donates Land on Hatch Road for Airport Expansion

By donating the Hatch Road property to the village, Clarkson is continuing to demonstrate our stated goal of supporting economic development, creating jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs in the St. Lawrence Valley, remarked Clarkson President Tony Collins. "The ability to attract or start viable businesses, based on technology developed in University laboratories, will be enhanced by having access to the best possible regional transportation facilities. The businesses Clarkson and the village leadership are helping to bring to life will create meaningful jobs for both the community and local career opportunities for area college graduates."

Clarkson's affiliation with the airfield goes back to 1944. In May of that year, Clarkson purchased the 176-acre Dullea farm, one and one-quarter miles outside of the village to allow the construction of two runways for small and medium-sized airplanes to land. The airport was named for Ralph Damon, chairman of Clarkson's Board of Trustees from 1945 until his death in 1956. Damon was president of American Airlines. The airport recognized a gift of $10,000 to Clarkson by Republic Aviation Corporation in appreciation of Damon's work at Republic during World War II.

The local Civil Air Patrol (CAP) unit moved an old barn onto the 175-acre hay meadow to serve as the airport's first hangar. A second building was moved nearby to serve as an office control room. The airfield consisted of two 1,800-foot runways. Clarkson deeded Damon Airport to the Village of Potsdam on August 1, 1968.

Potsdam Mayor Ron Tischler called the Clarkson gift generous, saying, "The 8.3 acres transferred to the village by Clarkson is the last piece of the expansion puzzle. This property will allow us to finalize the expansion of Damon Airport and make it a facility that attracts business."

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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