Grant money helping pay for hangar

Published 8:10 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018

During its Jan. 8 meeting, Washington’s City Council adopted a resolution in support of a $61,028 grant to help pay for a new corporate hangar at Washington-Warren Airport.

The State Aid to Airports grant covers up to 90 percent of the project, with the city responsible for the remaining 10 percent of the project cost, according to a memorandum from Frankie Buck, the city’s public works director, to the mayor and council members. The grant will be combined with other grant funds from previous years. The total project cost for engineering and construction is estimated at $355,000, according to the memorandum. The project consists of a 60-foot-by-60-foot hangar, a 20-foot-by20-foot office space, apron and taxi lane.

Currently, the airport does not have hangar space to accommodate additional corporate aircraft whose owners want to base those aircraft at the airport, according to a city document.

The city will coordinate the design of a new septic system for the restroom that will serve the office space at the new hangar. The city also will coordinate water service to the new hangar and office space, according to a city document.

Other improvements are in store for the airport. Late last year, the airport was allocated $150,000 from the N.C. Department of Transportation for those improvements. That $150,000 grant comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s non-primary entitlement funds and through the state’s block-grant program for aviation-related projects. The funds are intended for airside safety needs first, after which other needs may be considered, according to a letter from Bobby L. Watson, an engineer with DOT’s Division of Aviation.

As a condition of receiving the grant, the city is required to contribute $16,667 to the improvement project.

““The grant money is to be used for the design phase of Runway 5-23 Pavement Rehabilitation — Overlay. The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the pavement surface and strengthen existing pavement to accommodate aircraft up to 60,000 lb.,” wrote Buck in an email.

An FAA official explained the funding program.

“North Carolina is what we call a … a state block grant recipient. We give them (state) a grant. They divvy that grant up among the smaller airports,” said Arlene Salac, an FAA public-affairs spokeswoman, in a brief interview last week.

During its Nov. 14 meeting, the City Council authorized the mayor to execute the $164,074 pavement rehabilitation grant awarded by the Division of Aviation. The grant now moves to the next step in the funding process. A 2014 report issued by DOA indicates the runway is in poor condition. The grant requirements call for the city to contribute $18,231 toward the project, estimated to cost $182,305, according to city documents. The state grant accounts for 90 percent of the project cost.

During its Nov. 23, 2015, meeting, the council unanimously voted to hire Talbert & Bright to provide airport planning, environmental analysis, preliminary and final designs, estimating, bidding and construction management and other functions. The firm will help prepare applications for grants related to airport work and provide technical assistance and advice concerning airport needs, future development, funding strategies and implementation of airport projects, according to a city document.

The N.C. Department of Transportation requires that local governments that own airports seek requests for qualifications from engineering firms every five years. The city received four proposals. Talbert & Bright’s compensation depends on the work it does for the city.

In November 2017, the City Council chose Earl Malpass, who already had a presence at the airport, to handle those responsibilities and others. During the council’s discussion of the matter, council member William Pitt said, “I’m only going to ask one question. Will this improve our efficiency at the airport and place us into a better position to use the airport as an economic-development tool?”

“That’s the goal Councilman Pitt. This individual will concentrate primarily on promotions for the airport, aid in website maintenance for the airport, visit other airports, try to drum up other business for us as well as manage and formulate SOPs (standard operating procedures) for us on a daily basis at the airport,” replied Buck, the city’s public works director.







About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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