Saturday, November 12, 2016

Timber sales add money toward Asheboro Regional Airport upgrade

ASHEBORO — The sale of timber at the Asheboro Regional Airport is expected to bring the amount of money the city has earmarked for a new terminal to more $1.7 million.

During the regular meeting of the Asheboro City Council Thursday night, City Manager John Ogburn said the city has about $1.35 million in the coffers for the airport upgrade.

A few months ago, city council members authorized the sale of standing timber from three areas — totalling about 125 acres — surrounding the airport proper.

City Engineer Michael Leonard told council members Thursday that last month sealed bids with offers to harvest the timber were opened a day early due to miscommunication.

On Thursday night, council members approved a resolution to reject all bids received due to the irregularity and to sell the standing timber by a different process — via a negotiated offer, advertisement and upset bid process in which any bidder will have 10 days to raise a submitted bid.

The goal will be to obtain $384,936 for the standing timber — the amount of the highest bid submitted among the sealed bids.

That extra money toward the terminal, Ogburn said, will help city officials when they go to Washington, D.C., early next year to seek $3 million-$3.5 million via an economic development assistance grant to help pay for the project. Council members approved a contract in September to hire a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm to provide “comprehensive federal affairs representation” in the effort.

“We’ll go to Washington with $1.7 million in hand, so we’re not going with an empty hat,” Ogburn said Friday.

Terminal proposal

The airport on Pilots View Road, off N.C. 49 west of town, was established in its present location in the mid-1960s. It is one of 26 business class size airports in the state and sees more than 125 flights per week. With improved facilities, proponents say, the number of planes that call the Asheboro airport home could double in a decade.

The state completed an economic impact survey of North Carolina’s airports in 2012 and set the annual economic contribution of Asheboro’s airport at $5.9 million.

The estimated cost of a two-story, 22,739-square-foot terminal — a proposal presented in October 2015, during a special joint meeting of the Asheboro City Council, the Randolph County Commissioners and the Asheboro Airport Authority — is $7.5 million. The facility built of glass, block and stone is designed to look like an airplane wing from the air.

Ogburn has said the price tag for the proposal is too high, but that the city is committed to build “whatever we have the money for.” He has also said that a terminal might be built in phases, if necessary.


City staff have been working on indoor remodeling, including HVAC and bathroom upgrades, at the current terminal, which is more than 40 years old. If a new terminal is built, the old one would not be torn down. Plans call for using it as a base for flight instruction.

Leonard told council members Thursday that work should be done by Thanksgiving, with a ribbon-cutting and open house at the refurbished facility scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.

In other airport-related business on Thursday, council members approved:

* Two recommendations from the airport authority: One was to select W.K. Dickson & Company Inc. to provide engineering services for airport improvements during the next five years. The second was to investigate the use of non-primary entitlement funds to purchase three parcels of land — two parcels and a dwelling, totalling less than 5 acres, on Doul Mountain Road, and a 3.38-acre parcel on Union Church Road. Both adjoin airport property.

* Leasing hangar space to the Randolph Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol for $1 a year for a three-year term. The unit has used the hangar for several years.


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