Originally created 12/14/01

Vote puts hangar on track again



It makes more sense to continue building a multi-use hangar at Augusta Regional Airport than lose thousands of dollars by stopping the project indefinitely, the airport's governing body decided Thursday.

In November, the Augusta Aviation Commission called for the airport to take a closer look at building the $1.7 million hangar.

Some of the commissioners voiced concerns about spending that much while dealing with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

As the board waited to receive information on the hangar's financial potential, the airport's hired contractor temporarily stopped work.

Airport Director Ken Kraemer reminded the board Thursday that it would cost $440,000 to terminate the contract and scrap the project altogether.

He also told them that the hangar, which could house between five and seven private planes, could generate nearly $13,000 a month in hangar and office rental fees.

"There's several tenants in hangar Number 1 - the existing hangar - that are very anxious to move into nicer facilities," Mr. Kraemer said. "Those tenants have indicated that they if they didn't have a place to move to here at Augusta, Bush Field, they would look at other airports."

The detailed information was enough to satisfy concerns of commissioners who had raised questions earlier.

The decision to continue with the project passed with only Commissioner Ed McIntyre voting against it. He said he agreed with the airport engineer's advice to delay construction until the hangar can be properly advertised to potential tenants.

It is uncertain how much money the airport lost as a result of the temporary work stoppage, said airport spokeswoman Kathryn Solee.

She said City Attorney Jim Wall is in negotiations with the contractor to determine how much the airport will owe the company.

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (706) 823-3227 or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.