Council awards G-RAMP study bid

WARNER ROBINS — The Georgia-Robins Aerospace Maintenance Partnership got a boost Monday after the Warner Robins City Council approved a bid for the project’s environmental assessment during the Warner Robins Redevelopment Agency meeting.

The approved bid was for $83,576 from Alpharetta-based engineering, environmental and construction firm MACTEC. The firm was one of seven that submitted bids for the assessment in February. The recommendation was unanimous by the board’s membership, officials said.

Laura Mathis, director of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission and a member of the city’s G-RAMP board, said though the bid came in significantly less than original estimates, it could eventually cost more.

“Some of the studies they do may identify other studies that may need to be done, depending on what the results are,” she said.

Don Jarzynka said the estimated time for the completion of the assessment is about eight months, which he hopes can be done sooner. He still sees the first phase of the project up by the end of 2011.

“My philosophy is (the environmental assessment) is building a foundation,” said Jarzynka, who Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaneen appointed to be the focal point for the assessment bids. “While this is going on, there’s some things that we need to be doing, and I’m going to make sure we do those. We want to keep this thing moving as fast as we can.”

G-RAMP would be built in three phases with the number of hangars still to be determined, city officials have said, with a final cost in the tens of millions. When complete, the project could bring an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 jobs to the region.

Plans for the first phase of the project called for a building with two hangars, enough to hold two to four C-130 Hercules, two C-17 Globemaster III or one C-5 Galaxy aircraft.

After the assessment is complete, 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 the 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.

Councilman Tom Simms Jr. said he was impressed with the turnaround for the process.

“They were out to make this thing happen,” Simms said, “and it’s happening now.”

The council also heard a presentation from Robins Air Force Base officials about Google Fiber, which they said would increase the capabilities for existing Internet service providers and make the Middle Georgia region more inviting for high-tech industry. The council also heard a presentation on a proposed memorial park for veterans, which was shown as it would sit at Commercial Circle.

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