North Adams Airport Approves Funding for Hangar Renovation
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Airport Commission voted to use a total of $576,198 to begin work on the North East hangar renovation.
Stantec Engineer Peter Enzien gave an update on the project last Tuesday and noted not much has changed since May. He said Stantec has addressed and submitted comments from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in regard to the grant application.
What he did have was a general contractor bid of $479,000 from Tierney Construction. He said the commission had to make a decision on whether or not it wanted to move forward with renovating the city-owned hangar.
"It really just comes down to whether we are going forward or not with the project," Enzian said.
The commissioners were hesitant to fully greenlight the project with the fear it would sap their accumulating chest of grant funds.
In total, the city has $230,000 in non-primary entitlement funding, some of which was rolled over from the last fiscal year. Factoring in state and local shares, the city should have nearly $260,000 to complete the project.
Also, the airport is slated to receive an additional $159,000 a year for the next five years through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The commissioners decided to wait until bids came in to make a decision, but during past meetings, they became more reluctant as the estimate inched closer to $500,000.
Enzien said the commission could delay the project and hope for a lower bid, but he added that this is unlikely. He anticipated that material costs will continue to increase and with stimulus money making its way into different projects, contractors will be busier. This means they can pick and choose what projects they want to bid on and submit larger bids.
"You can move forward or not and delay this into the future," he said. "No one feels there will be better pricing though."
Also, delaying the project would mean losing some of the engineering fees already expended.
The commission noted that there is a need for hangar space and a waiting list does exist. So the sooner the space is complete, the sooner the city can start drawing new revenue.
The commission opted out of alternative bids that would drive the bottom line up considerably but had to accept an additional $96,000 charge on top of the $479,000 to cover Stantec's fee. This brought the total to $576,198.
Enzien said this leaves the airport with about $70,000 to put towards other airport projects such as preparing the administrative building restaurant space.
The vote was 2-1 with Chairman Dan Caplinger voting in the negative. He did not give a reason why but said he was happy the project was moving forward. Caplinger did acknowledge that he was on the waiting list for the new hangar space.
Enzien also gave an update on the obstruction removal project that is nearing completion. Work began in early June and 90 percent of the work was completed in a week and a punch list was being generated.
The project must be completed by the end of June to receive full grant funding. Enzien was confident the project would be done long before that.
"June 30 is the drop-dead date," he said. "But we want some breathing room so it will be done a few days in advance."
The airport is using grant funds to remove some vegetation at and around the airport.
In other business, the Mohawk Soaring Club is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and plans to hold some sort of public gathering at the airport.
"We are going to get together and kick around what they want to do," interim Airport Manager Katherine Eade said. "Music, food trucks who knows. They are an impressive group."
She said they are aiming to celebrate in September.
She added that the airport will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in the coming years and hopes to hold some sort of celebration.
The commission liked the idea and wanted to pinpoint exactly when the airport will be turning 75.
"We want to bring people to the airport," Commissioner Marc Morandi. "We want people to know what is going on because we have so much we should be celebrating."
Airport user Trevor Gilman said the airport was founded in 1949 and had celebrated 50 years in 1999 so the 75th anniversary would be in 2024.
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