WWII airplane hanger still in the works

Published 11:21 am Monday, September 23, 2013

The renovation, or lack of renovation, of the WW II-era hangar located at the Decatur County Airport was the subject of much discussion Wednesday at the Decatur County Airport Advisory Committee meeting.
Committee Chairman Dewey Robinson expressed frustration with the lack of communication from the Decatur County Commission relative to the scope and progress of the hangar project. Robinson also questioned the cost of the project relative to the limited work being done.
That frustration led Robinson to resign as a member and chairman of the committee. He later rescinded the resignation and will continue to serve.
The total cost of the project is $311,000, according to airport manager and committee member Jim Cerone. For that amount, the roof of the hangar will be patched and metal siding and windows on the front, or south side, of the hangar will be replaced. The improvements will be visible only from the airport runway.
“The total renovation estimate of the entire hangar, when we looked at this in 2003, was $140,000. I understand prices have gone up since then, but I don’t understand how it could have grown that much,” said Robinson. “I also don’t understand why we have not had more input as a committee on this project.”
“These plans were drawn and done before we were ever formed as committee,” said committee member Doug Young. “The scope of work now and the scope of work then is different.”
Robinson referred to simply renovating the front of the hangar, while leaving the other three sides untouched and unpainted as a “Band-Aid.”
“I guess that’s okay if that’s the way you’re used to doing things, but that’s not my way, I’m sorry,” said Robinson. “I am disappointed to say the least.”
“We have been left in the blind as for as the grant, the amount of the grant. We have been shown nothing from the commission,” said committee member Bill Nichols.
Garrison Metalworks of Tallahassee, Florida was awarded the contract to complete the renovation and began work on the project on September 11, according to Jim Cerone, the airport manager and member of the committee.
Of the $311,000 total cost, approximately $300,000 came from Federal Aviation Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation Grants.  Local businessman Alec Poitevint has agreed to donate the required local match of 3.75-percent, or roughly $10,000.
According to Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove, approximately 25-percent of the total grant award was spent on construction engineering of the project. He said that level of engineering was required in the grant stipulations, although there is no documentation outlining those stipulations.
Croy Engineering, a Marietta-based consulting engineering firm, was paid to conduct the engineering studies and planning of the hangar renovation.

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