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Paynesville Press - Feb. 26, 2003

Airport bids come in lower than estimated

By Michael Jacobson

Bids for a new airport for the city of Paynesville came in lower than expected last week.

Twelve sealed bids were opened on Tuesday, Feb. 18, with the low bidder being Duinick Brothers, Inc., of Prinsburg in the amount of $549,528. This is $400,000 under the engineer's construction estimate for grading the runway, paving the runway, taxiway, and apron, preparing the hangar site, and installing runway lighting. It does not include the engineer's fees for the project.

The bids were very competitive, which was good, said city administrator Steve Helget. Of the 12 bids, three were under $600,000 and another three were under $650,000.

The state pays the first $200,000 of construction and 60 percent of the costs beyond that, meaning the local share of the construction costs will be just under $140,000. The city also must pay 40 percent of the engineering fees and 40 percent for land acquisition.

The city has obtained ownership of the property needed to build a new airport, though the price for the land has not been settled yet by the court. Hearings with the five landowners involved are scheduled for Wednesday, March 26, at city hall in Paynesville starting at 9 a.m. A board of three commissioners should decide on the final price for the property by April, said Helget.

Even with the land cost and engineering fees, Helget thinks the city's share of the new airport will be around $400,000 for the entire project, which is close to the original estimate for a turf runway. The new airport will have a paved runway.

The city council still needs to approve the bids. Helget said the city needs to write another grant agreement with the state before accepting the bids, so the bids could appear on the city council agenda tonight or in two weeks.

Once the council approves the bids, the project should start this spring. Helget expects the contractor may move equipment into the area yet this winter in order to be ready to start as soon as they are able in the spring.

Construction should last 90 days.

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