A handful of lots that had been vacant for years at the Old Town Municipal Airport have quickly filled up, about a year after legislation was passed by Congress removing deed restrictions on the land.

The property was bought by the federal government in 1937 under the Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act, which allowed the government to restore damaged lands. The federal government sold the land to the city about 35 years ago, with restrictions that it could only be used by  the airport.

Those restrictions were lifted last spring, however, after they stalled potential commercial development and a $1 million investment in infrastructure by the city was idle. And in the months since, interested parties have lined up for and bought those lots.

Sullivan’s Towing was the first to move in, after selling the lot where the new Tradewinds Market was built on Stillwater Avenue. Also heading for open lots is Carmichael Transportation, which runs a fleet of 35 box trucks that deliver mail north of Bangor, and Wayne Loring, who wants to expand his pack basket business. And just last week, the city council authorized City Manager Bill Mayo to seek a bond that will pave the way for the Border Patrol to construct a new facility at the airport.

There may be room to squeeze one more lot if a reconfiguration is done.For now, those long-empty lots all appear to be filled; more commercial lots may be created in the city soon, however, according to Economic Development Director Ron Harriman.

One possible idea, said Harriman, would be to expand the airport business park, which has all utilities available, in behind properties off Gilman Falls Avenue. Another might be to explore acquiring properties off Stillwater Avenue owned by UMaine, or to perhaps partner with the university on projects.

“We’re making it a priority to create additional commercial lots,” said Harriman. “There has been enough interest where it definitely is worth exploring our options.”