Airport ready for lighting, taxiway projects
story by Marla Cantrell
Fort Smith Airport Director John Parker said $1.4 million in grant money for runway lighting and other projects should be approved by the end of the week.
At the Tuesday commission (Aug. 24) meeting, Parker outlined the FAA funding, which will be used to install new runway lighting, the design and widening of a taxiway, and the purchase of a truck equipped with a plow and grader.
“The initial request for the AIP 38 grant was $1,240,946,” Parker said. “We increased that amount due to an increase in the cost of runway construction bids.”
The bids Parker referred to were from F&W Electrical Contractors, Inc. of Floresville, Texas, and Rick McGinty Co., of Greenbrier, Ark. Originally, the estimate for the electrical improvements was $400,000. But the cost rose when it was discovered that the spacing of the lights was incorrect. The old lights, imbedded in asphalt, will have to be removed, and new lights installed. That drove the price up more than $100,000.
“All the work has to be done at night, after the last flight leaves,” Parker said. “That also added to the cost.”
The commission awarded the contract to McGinty, even though the bid was $385 higher than F&W. F&W dropped out of the running when the airport discovered the Texas company did not have an Arkansas contractor’s license, and an application to get one was not on file with the state.
In other business, BKD was selected to perform the 2010 audit, at a cost of $32,000. Two other agencies, Beall, Barclay and Company, PLC, and Przybysz and Associates also submitted proposals for the work.
OG&E was granted an easement to provide electrical power to the new hangar site, and Baldor was given permission to remove its underground fuel tank, as per airport policy. The company will remove the tank, which was installed in 1986, and use the existing fuel pump at its new location at the airport.
Finally, commissioners discussed the airport’s restaurant, “The Landing.” The 2010 budget estimated revenue from the shop to be $11,000. So far, only 31%, or $3,450 has come in.
The problem for the restaurant is that passengers don’t stay for long periods of time, unless there are unforeseen delays.
“We changed the rate from a set percentage, to a sliding scale earlier this year, to help them out.” Parker said. “The problem is people can get in cars and go to restaurants. … We don’t have dwell time.”
The next commission meeting will be held Sept. 28.