G-RAMP board to consider use for Warner Robins land

chwright@macon.comSeptember 26, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- A dormant board will be reassembled to decide what should be done with land slated for the Georgia-Robins Aerospace Maintenance Partnership.

“The mayor wants us to assemble the G-RAMP board again and work in conjunction with (Robins Air Force) base and see what their needs are,” said Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Gary Lee.

Originally, the idea was for G-RAMP to be a private-public partnership in which maintenance hangars were built for use by Robins, with a price tag estimated as high as $72.5 million. That may no longer be the best use, Lee and Mayor Chuck Shaheen have said.

Now with the environmental assessment ready for public comment, Lee said Shaheen will bring together the G-RAMP board he created at the beginning of his tenure. The board hasn’t met in more than a year.

“The Air Force base couldn’t talk to us about what their needs were until the environmental study was done,” Lee said.

That study finds the project would have no significant impact on the first 24 acres planned for G-RAMP. The city owns 91 acres of land intended for the project.

The 199-page report is supposed to be available soon for public viewing at the Nola Brantley Memorial Library. As of Wednesday afternoon, a copy was not available.

After a 30-day review period, answers to public questions that can be found in the existing environmental assessment document will be identified, and any remaining questions or comments will be incorporated.

The document will then be sent to the Air Force for final approval under the National Environmental Policy Act. The final approval should take about 30 days, City Engineer Charlie Beauchea previously said.

The city entered an $84,000 contract with MACTEC two years ago for the environmental assessment. The company was later acquired by AMEC. The process included three archeological studies.

The study lays out a detailed history and description of the proposed land and impacts on both the environment and the surrounding area, including topography and socioeconomic factors.

The study still mentions hangars as a possibility, but Lee said it does not lock the city into building them instead of something else related to the base.

Lee said the first G-RAMP board meeting, which is open to the public, will be Oct. 4.

Tim Thomas, G-RAMP board member, said he looks forward to reconvening the board.

“I was very proud of the work we got done,” Thomas said.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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