Delays in regulations have benefited the local airport

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By VICKI BROWN

At the October 14 meeting of the Lowcountry Regional Airport Commission, officials reported that the airport had benefited greatly from the postponement of the settlement with the Insurance Reserve Fund (IRF) for damage caused by air traffic. tornadoes.

According to Airports Commission lawyer Bert Duffie, when the IRF first arrived in the area after the April 13, 2020 tornadoes to assess the damage, it proposed low regulations regarding costs. repair and replacement. “We refused to settle until we could complete an investigation into the total destruction. It turned out to be a good decision, ”said Duffie. “In one case, the IRF was willing to offer us $ 36,000 for the damage, but after further investigation and discussions with engineers, we discovered a lot more damage than we thought.

“The IRF ended up settling with us for $ 126,871.81. We would have lost close to $ 100,000 if we had moved in too early. The IRF wasn’t trying to fool us, but honestly, they didn’t know there was invisible damage. We didn’t know that either until the damage was assessed even further, ”Duffie explained.

Most repairs are underway, including a giant sliding door which is out of stock due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. John Stieglitz, director of capital projects, said he was frustrated with the delays.

“There are so many things we need, but the pandemic has put them out of stock, or we’re waiting a very long time for the items we need to come in,” Stieglitz said. “In some cases our hands are tied. He went on to explain that one of the engineers working on the hangar situation recently died. “Charles Brightwell has been a part of it from the start. He will be missed and we are saddened by his passing. We take the time to cry and regroup before making decisions, ”he said.

LRA Commission member Phillip Taylor, as well as pilot and historian Jeff Grigg, spoke at length about other ways to fund improvements at the airport.

Taylor suggested researching the Civil Rights Grant program which funds areas known for African American contributions to society. The airport’s connection to the Tuskagee Airmen and its involvement in WWII make it a prime candidate for the grant which can offer up to $ 500,000.

Grigg spoke of having parts of the airport listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places. Some of the buildings on the LRA’s grounds were constructed during WWII, such as the Norden bombing site building, the Tetrahedron, and the WWII Hangar. “These buildings must be preserved,” Taylor said.

The committee voted to research the grant and the national registry before committing and reporting the information to the next meeting.

In other airport news:

Fuel sales are off to a good start

LRA Director of Operations Roger Medlin sent a report to members of the commission indicating that fuel sales in September were on average just under 19,500 gallons for the month, due to the busy season. hunting in full swing.

October fuel sales are off to a good start, even with the cost of jet fuel on the rise. He also reported in a written statement that Hangar G was completed and ready for use.

Delayed taxiway reconfiguration project

Airport manager Tommy Rowe reported that the taxiway reconfiguration project was delayed until early spring due to delays in obtaining electrical equipment due to the pandemic. In the meantime, the commission will continue to install a replacement mast for approximately $ 7,500 by Mitchell Construction, the lowest bidder.

“An on-site audit of the completed full drainage project with the project inspector and a representative of the Quality Enterprises contractor revealed deviations in the work done earlier this year,” Rowe said. “This will be fixed in the coming weeks.”

He went on to report that the installation of the emergency generator for the electric vault is 90 percent complete.


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