City rejects bid for new airport terminal

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The city’s efforts to build a new terminal building for the Dowagiac Municipal Airport has recently hit a patch of turbulence.

The members of the Dowagiac City Council voted to reject a $640,000 bid proposal for the airport construction project during their meeting Monday evening. The bid, submitted by Grand Rapid’s F & V Construction Management on April 19, came in approximately $250,000 over the $400,000 price tag project engineers projected for construction earlier this year.

“It was nearly a quarter of a million dollar swing,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson, addressing members of the council that evening. “At over $600 a square foot for a building like that, you have to reject it [the bid].”

F & V was the only company to submit a bid for the project, Anderson said.

The bidding process was the most recent step in the terminal building project, which has been in the works since early 2015. The proposed structure will replace the airport’s current terminal, which provides a space for pilots to plan out their flights as well as shelter during inclement weather conditions.

The bid rejection complicates the timeline of the project, as the city is seeking grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration that would pay for
95 percent of construction costs. As the deadline for these grant allocations occurs in the fall, the city will be working with project engineers to get construction back on track quickly, with council possibly seeing future action in the coming weeks ahead, Anderson said.

“It makes this construction season difficult — not impossible, but difficult,” said Mayor Don Lyons. “We are going to pull out all the stops, do what we can and see how it plays out.”

In a more positive development for city hall, the council approved the purchase of another piece of property on Commercial Street Monday in coordination with the city’s planned efforts to improve the patch of downtown property.

The council approved the purchase of a foreclosed home at 305 Commercial St. for $20,300. It is the fourth piece of property the city has purchased on the street in the last several years.

“This was the last piece of the puzzle that we needed for properties in order to make some improvements there this summer,” Anderson said.

Other action taken by council Monday included:

• Approval of the purchase of a compartment box for one the city’s electric division trucks, in the amount of $28,791.

• Approval of an agreement with The Small Urban Area Task Force for funding for improvements to Depot Drive, in the amount of $140,825. Dowagiac will provide a 20 percent local match, in the amount of $45,553.

• Payment of bills and payroll in the amount of $897,702.