The Board of Aldermen tabled a request by the AOPA to be let out of an agreement to build a series of hangars at Frederick Municipal Airport, wanting more time to look into why the agreement should be voided.

Frederick’s aldermen want more time to look into whether an organization at Frederick Municipal Airport should be let out of an agreement to build new hangars at the airport.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association asked the city to be released from a lease to build the hangars, citing issues such as construction bids that came in higher than expected and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local, regional and national economies.

But several aldermen expressed concerns about voting to end the agreement before they’d had a chance to discuss the issue at a workshop, leading to a unanimous vote to put their decision off for several weeks.

The AOPA, an international organization of pilots and aircraft owners which is based at Frederick Municipal Airport, signed a lease to build more than 194,000 square feet of hangars at the airport after answering a request for proposals from the city.

But after the lease was signed and the organization began the process of creating site plans, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, and other initial work, they found that bids for the project had come in considerably higher than they’d estimated, Frederick Director of Economic Development Richard Griffin told the mayor and aldermen in their meeting Thursday night.

Because there was no expectation when the agreement was signed that AOPA wouldn’t want to move forward with the project, there was no clause included to allow it to be mutually terminated, Griffin said.

The city can issue a new RFP, and he’s confident they can find a new developer for the project, he said.

Two other companies have expressed interest in the project, but the city felt they couldn’t address them without going back through the RFP process, Griffin said.

Alderman Ben MacShane said he had questions about how the change would impact the airport.

The city has made plans to remove some other hangars on the assumption that the new hangars would replace them, he said.

Assistant Airport Manager Andrew Moore said some wooden hangars had been removed that were encroaching on a safety area for a new taxiway that’s part of an ongoing runway expansion project at the airport.

Alderman Roger Wilson asked why there was no timeline for a reissue of the RFP if there were other people interested in doing the project.

Alderwoman Kelly Russell asked if it was critical that they take a vote Thursday, noting that they have a signed agreement. The change seems like something that should be discussed in a workshop setting, she said.

The aldermen voted 4-0 to table the item and bring it to a workshop for discussion. Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak was absent from the meeting.

Mayor Michael O’Connor said the item would be scheduled for a workshop at the earliest opportunity, although no date was set.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at

(5) comments


People that attack city staff are completely naive. How are they to blame that construction costs came in higher than what AOPA budgeted for?


Why let them out of contract? City staff recommends letting them out and wasting city money.


As I Watch Frederick City government attempt to function, it amazes me how sloppy and unorganized the Mayor and his staff seem. After three years, staff walks into a Alderman meeting and says, the low bidder from three years ago cannot deliver.

"Three Years???" Where has every body been?

It appears the lackadaisical attitude of the Mayor permeates the whole City and the professional work, follow-through and advance thinking is non-existent.

It is time for the Mayor to show why he wanted the job, because it is becoming obvious he thinks he is still in Church.


O'Connor is easily the worst excuse for a mayor ever elected in what was once a great city. And his election only illustrates just how far down the toilet that city has gone.


Downtown is a perfect example. The number of homeless vagrants has noticeably increased and they now have various encampments along the canal. There used to be the usual suspect that you would encounter but now there are many new faces in that group. Yelling and fighting, playing loud music, strong arm robbing patrons, passing out in the bushes and urinating in alleys are all examples of how bad Frederick has become.

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