Final environmental assessment of G-RAMP to be available soon

WARNER ROBINS -- The final environmental assessment report for the Georgia-Robins Aerospace Maintenance Partnership will be available to residents soon for a 30-day review, according to City Engineer Charlie Beauchea.

Beauchea updated the Warner Robins Redevelopment Agency board Monday on the G-RAMP project, which is moving into the development strategy phase as the environmental assessment heads toward Air Force approval.

“We’ve accomplished a milestone,” Gary Lee, executive director of the Redevelopment Agency, said at the board’s monthly meeting. “It seems like it’s taken a long time, but this is critical for us to move forward.”

Beauchea said the report will be available by next week at the Nola Brantley Memorial Library on Watson Boulevard. After the 30-day review period, answers to public questions that can be found in the existing document will be identified, and any remaining questions or comments will be incorporated into the final draft that will be sent to the Air Force for final approval under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The Air Force’s approval should take about 30 days, Beauchea told the board.

A finding of no significant impact must be approved for development of the 91 acres near Robins Air Force Base. Mayor Chuck Shaheen said in December the finding had been finalized, but Beauchea said Shaheen was mistaken.

G-RAMP is a project the city has been working on for more than a decade, with price tag estimates as high as $72.5 million.

Originally, the idea was to be a private-public partnership in which maintenance hangars were built for use by Robins Air Force Base, creating local jobs.

However, Shaheen and Lee have said over the past year the city may not be the entity to build whatever goes on the land, and it may not be maintenance hangars. Lee did not elaborate on possible scenarios Monday.

“Whatever the needs of the Air Force base, we are willing to accommodate the base,” Lee said.

Shaheen did not return a phone call for comment.

Beauchea, who has been involved with G-RAMP from the beginning, said the environmental assessment report has gone through several review processes over the past five years and few questions should remain.

MACTEC was contracted to do the report for $84,000. The company was later acquired by AMEC. The report is the final step in the first Air Force-led NEPA approval process for a city-owned property, according to Beauchea. The process also included an archeological study.

During the meeting, the board also approved $81,000 for underground utilities at the new law enforcement center and up to $6,000 for further quality inspections of the building. Board members also accepted a $3,000 credit for unspent money designated to strengthen cement after a previous quality inspection.

Flint Energies will install the electrical lines underground to minimize view obstructions in the area that Lee and Shaheen have said they envision as a gateway to the city.

“For a building of this magnitude, the last thing you want is poles running in front,” Lee told the board.

Bill Mulkey, city building inspector, told the board utilities were not included in the $6.98 million contract for the police headquarters building, but the project remains on time and on budget.

Mulkey said the board also will need to approve cable line installations with Cox Cable or AT&T and ground lighting for the building entrance.

The project, under construction at Watson Boulevard and Armed Forces Boulevard, is expected to be completed in January.

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