Grants could fund new round of airport projects

If the city gets federal funds, several improvements could be made next year to West Point's McCharen Field Airport.
Staff Writer

A West Alabama firm is the low bidder on a project to make significant improvements to West Point's McCharen Field Airport next year if the city gets Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program funds.

"We're tickled to death with these bids," West Point City Manager Randy Jones told Selectmen Tuesday night in recommending Robertson Excavating as the low bidder on a project that will improve drainage and expand taxiway and parking areas.

Robertson bid $473,469. Okolona-based Ausbern Construction bid $528,104.

A second potential project to pave some of the grassy areas surrounding six pavilion hangars also will go to Robertson if the money is awarded.

Robertson bid $52,607.50 for that work compared to Ausbern's $63,927.50.

It marked the first time the city has used the new state-mandated electronic bidding system.

If the FAA awards the city the AIP grant, the feds will pay 90 percent and the state and city will pay 5 percent each.

Robertson has done work at the airport previously and uses some local companies, including Webster Contracting as a subcontractor.

"They've done very good stuff for us in the past, just incredible work," Jones said in response to a questions from Selectmen Ken Poole and Jasper Pittman.

He also praised some of the newest improvements, including new LED lighting on the runway. In addition to being brighter and more visible at night, it'll save the airport 40 percent or more on electric bills annually, he said.
"We are outclassing some of the neighboring airports," Jones said, encouraging visitors to go see the airport at night.
The facility is located on Airport Road just south of Walmart off Highway 45 Alternate.

It continues to be on pace for a record year in fuel sales and already is fielding inquiries from college football and basketball fanes about flying in for games this fall and winter instead of flying into Starkville.