2014-05-08 / Front Page

Airport plans system update

Fuel tanks to receive renovation this year

MANISTIQUE – The county will be moving forward with renovations to the fuel system at the Schoolcraft County Airport, but planned improvements to the terminal building have been put on hold. The decision was made during a recent meeting of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners.

According to Commissioner Craig Reiter, the county recently received word on the amount needed to match grants for renovation work at the airport. The work is part of the airport’s “Ten Year Plan” which was approved by commissioners in October. The plan was prepared by C2AE – architects out of Escanaba.

Formally names the Airport Capital Improvement Plan, as submitted to the Michigan State Block Grant Program, it includes numerous improvements to the airport, including land acquisitions, fence and security installation, and the fuel and terminal renovations.

Reiter said the required matches from the county for the fuel system and terminal improvements were much higher than anticipated – estimated to be $2,500 and $17,000, respectively.

“In lieu [sic] of this … I would like to … just do the fuel farm this summer,” he said. “About the only thing that wouldn’t change ... would be the tanks … It’s quite an update – we’ve got a couple of antiqued pumps out there.”

In order to amass the amount of money needed for the terminal match, Reiter suggested putting that piece of the plan off until next year. Until then, the county could put funds away for the project.

Commissioner Dan LaFoille noted that the terminal’s boiler needed to be replaced before the upcoming winter so the county doesn’t continue to “pour money” into it. Reiter explained that since the boiler is part of the terminal building renovation budget, it couldn’t be removed as a single project.

“If we chose to do the boiler, we couldn’t do any of the rest of it (terminal renovations),” he said. “We’re allowed to do one or all of these.”

Reiter explained that it was his “understanding” that completing only the boiler replacement would result in the county forfeiting the match for the remainder of the terminal work, which includes windows, insulation, electrical, heating and a water system.

“Why don’t we try begging and pleading?” said LaFoille. “Let’s make sure we have it all figured out, and then we can include the rest of it in a future plan … If we could get that done, if they would allow that, I would strongly suggest that we try that.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the fuel pump renovation and to question whether the boiler replacement could occur without jeopardizing the rest of the terminal renovations.

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