WR council told about G-RAMP study bids

WARNER ROBINS — The Georgia-Robins Aerospace Maintenance Partnership is moving closer to reality, G-RAMP Committee Chairman Don Jarzynka told officials before Monday’s council meeting.

Jarzynka, speaking during the monthly Regional Development Authority meeting, said seven proposals were submitted to complete the environmental assessment and have been whittled to three, all of which fall below the estimated $200,000 stated by the previous council to complete the study.

Officials said $105,000 has been received from government bodies in Middle Georgia that the city reached out to for assistance in paying for the assessment. That includes a little more than $68,000 allocated by Warner Robins officials.

Assessment bids were graded on several criteria, Jarzynka said, including competency and timeliness of accomplishment for the assessment. Three firms remaining in the running will be interviewed today. Jarzynka suggested the board have a special meeting to approve a bid after the G-RAMP committee makes its determination. One was scheduled for March 15 before the pre-council session.

“The top candidate will be brought before the council then,” Jarzynka said.

Several jurisdictions have not sent the money asked for by then-Warner Robins Mayor John Havrilla in a letter to city and county officials late last year to complete the required environmental assessment. Of those yet to contribute are Bibb and Houston counties, asked to contribute larger amounts based on the number of base employees who live in those areas.

“I think it’s very attainable and it shows … that the city of Warner Robins is really aware of how we can continue to promote our strength,” Mayor Chuck Shaheen said. “Robins Air Force Base is our strength. If we don’t have it, we don’t have anything here.”

G-RAMP calls for aircraft maintenance hangars and ramps and a taxiway to Robins Air Force Base, all to be built on 544 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the north end of the base. Officials expect the project to bring millions in revenue. The total cost of the project has been estimated at more than $70 million.

Funding for the project is still up in the air. Some private donors have approached city officials. City officials also have spoken recently of making G-RAMP a regionally funded project, though collecting the $200,000 for the environmental assessment proved difficult.

After the assessment, the city will seek approval from Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, which will use the assessment to determine if space designated by the city for G-RAMP is up to federal regulations in terms of air, noise and ecological issues. Under the federal guidelines, that means a reputable agency must conclude there is a Finding of No Significant Impact.

To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.