An Apalachicola transportation broker won’t be getting new renovated offices at the airport’s commercial hangar and instead will lease a solar-powered hangar built five years ago by the county for another company..
Early this year, Randall Terry requested the county use existing Florida Department of Transportation grant money to construct a 60” by 60” hangar to house his business, TP Transport LLC. At the time, he was renting a Tee-hangar at the airport but said he needed a bigger space.
Commissioners agreed that once built, they would lease Terry the new hangar for 20 years at $500 monthly. Terry estimated the cost of constructing the hangar would be $180,000.
Ted Mosteller, chair of the Airport Advisory Board said the project would be fully funded by DOT grants. Commissioners agreed to the project, but when all bids on Feb. 5 came in excess of available funds, commissioners voted unanimously to reject them.
On Feb. 9, the county agreed to lease Randall an existing commercial hangar, largely unoccupied ever since it was built nine years ago. There is $100,000 in DOT grant money available to pay for the work on the hangar, which needs interior renovations to house Terry’s offices.
The county in August requested bids to renovate the space but none were received. Commissioners ordered the request be published again in September, with Commissioner Pinki Jackel specifying that county employees contact local contractors by telephone to inform them of the project.
County Planner Alan Pierce opened five bids for the project at the Oct. 1 county commission meeting and the base bids ranged from $348,000 to $470,000, well in excess of the $100,000 in available funds. Terry said the work could be done for $150,000 and offered to subcontract to do the work himself.
Commissioner Smokey Parrish said construction had to comply with Federal Aviation Authority regulations.
Pierce said the high estimates were affected by airport security, and when the construction could be carried out. He said many contractors were not interested in undertaking the project because of security constraints.
Commissioner Noah Lockley asked whether the county could seek a larger grant from DOT. Pierce said this was possible but was uncertain if the request would be granted or how long it would take to receive funds. He said it was possible some additional funds “already in the pipeline” could be redirected.
Parrish suggested Terry move into the hangar constructed for and leased by Garlick Environmental in 2008. The environmental services company vacated in late September when the firm moved to commercial property owned by CEO Dan Garlick at the Hays House in downtown Apalachicola.
At the time of the move, Garlick was leasing the hangar, which is powered by solar panels, for more than $1,600 monthly. Terry asked if he could lease the Garlick hangar for $1,000 monthly.
Terry told commissioners he could not remain in the Tee-hangar he is currently leasing due to size constraints, which has two of his employees working out of the office. “I’ve got guys walking outside to use the phone,” he told commissioners.
Jackel asked if the Garlick hangar could be used to house emergency management offices. Pierce said it did not meet flood requirements.
Jackel moved, and the commissioners unanimously approved, leasing the Garlick hangar to Terry for six months at $1,200 a month. The commission also voted unanimously to table all renovation bids for the vacant hangar.