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City to act as fiscal agent for loan to airship company

The damaged Sceye airship and hangar are seen in this photo provided by the New Mexico Economic Development Department. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The Roswell City Council has approved the city acting as the fiscal agent for a $2 million state bridge loan to help a local airship development company rebuild following a March windstorm.

The City Council voted unanimously, 10-0, at its Thursday meeting to allow the city to serve as the fiscal agent for the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) loan for Sceye Inc., which operates at the Roswell International Air Center.

The loan was announced formally by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham at a May 18 news conference at the air center.

Sceye, a venture of the global public health firm Vestergaard, is developing a helium-filled airship able to remain in the stratosphere for long periods of time to provide communication systems for remote areas, monitor environmental conditions or issues of public concern such as human trafficking or poaching, or serve other public interest purposes.

Sceye had developed a full-scale version of the airship, but it was destroyed by the March 13 windstorm that hit Chaves County. The fabric-covered hangar also was severely damaged. That storm, as well as a tornado the day before in the Dexter area, led Chaves County and the city of Roswell to issue emergency declarations.

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The company, which also is in the midst of working with insurance companies regarding payments, said it will use the money to rebuild the airship and the hangar in Roswell and to lease a test facility at an airfield in Moriarty, New Mexico.

The city will not receive any payments or fees for its role, but Sceye has secured the loan with its facilities and equipment, City Attorney Aaron Holloman told city councilors.

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