Progress continues on new Dowagiac airport terminal

Nearly a year after first revving the propeller on the project, Dowagiac City Council has taken the next step to get a new terminal at the local airport off the ground.

The members approved an agreement with Kalamazoo-based engineering firm Prein & Newhof for additional design work and development of bid specification for the planned Dowagiac Municipal Airport construction project during the council’s regular meeting Monday. Per the terms of the contract amendment, the city will pay the consulting firm $46,000 for the work.

Like other steps in the project, 95 percent of the funding for this expense will be covered through Federal Aviation Administration grant money administered through the Michigan Department of Transportation. Under the terms of the block grant agreement, the city will only have to contribute 5 percent of the funds for the project.

Council’s action Monday is the first they’ve taken since getting the ball rolling on the construction a new terminal building for Dowagiac airport since February 2015, when the members approved a resolution to pay for $9,000 of initial design work. Since then, officials with MDOT have approved these preliminary designs, and recommended that the city approve of the contract amendment with Prein & Newhof for the additional planning work, said City Manager Kevin Anderson.

“The good news is, the state through the DOT funding source is paying for the lion’s share of the project,” Anderson said. “The bad news is we need to follow all the steps and processes there, and that takes a lot longer, and sometimes adds some dollars and cents to it.”

City officials will meet with representatives with the engineering firm later this week to work out design concepts for the terminal in order to get the project ready for bid as quickly as possible, Anderson said. Once that portion of the project is completed, the city anticipates having cost estimates for construction.

Once completed, the new terminal will give pilots flying into and out of the community airport an updated place to rest during inclement weather conditions.

“It should be a real nice project,” Anderson said. “It’s not a real fancy building, but it will meet the needs of the airport for years to come.”

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