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Airport Renovations Move Forward with Federal Grant Funds

At its monthly meeting on St. Thomas, the V.I. Port Authority board approved several contracts and other agreements that will put $10.7 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants toward significant upgrades to both local airports.

According to VIPA officials, the grants include $4.8 million for improvements to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport – $3.1 million of which are discretionary funds that have not come to the territory since 2002.

At the time, FAA prohibited the Port Authority from applying for the funds because of the lack of progress being made in shutting down the Anguilla landfill, but recent progress has since prompted the lifting of the ban, according to board members.

Improvements at Rohlsen are mostly for the rehabilitation of the aircraft parking airport, which board members described as a hazard, a project that is expected to cost $6.6 million. With the funding, the board amended an agreement between Ricondo and Associates (a Port Authority consultant providing services for the Rohlsen Airport) and VIPA for $1,600,462 to provide construction phase services for the restoration of the apron.

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The board also approved a payment to Ricondo and Associates for additional services provided in the re-bidding process for the apron rehabilitation project in the amount of $29,946. Board members further awarded a contract for $4,131,098 to V.I. Paving for the project, along with another $132,406 contract to Ricondo and Associates to develop plans for improving the terminal layout and address passenger movement through the Rohlsen terminal.

Board members said this study will address the "long-standing issue" of international travelers comingling with domestic travelers at Rohlsen.

In other business, the Port Authority board:
– Approved a payment plan for tenant Island Ambrosia that allows for four equal monthly payments of $862.97 to cover outstanding rent totaling $3,451.88;

-Approved a payment plan for tenant V&G’s Originals that allows for eight equal monthly payments of $900.88 to cover outstanding rent totaling $7,207.09;

-Approved a payment plan for Skaway Jewelry Co. (doing business as Omni Jewelers) that allows for six monthly payments of $6,532.07 to cover outstanding rent totaling $39,192.46;

-authorized VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe to pay $97,420.08 to the Department of Labor to cover accumulated benefits charges from 1994 to 2012 paid to VIPA employees;

-approved adding an amendment to the marine study contract between Bermello Ajamil and VIPA for the feasibility of developing a transshipment port at the Hovensa facility. The scope of work is not to exceed $85,000 and will increase the total contract from $158,000 to an amount not to exceed $243,000;

-approved an insurance settlement for Building 18 Subbase (better known as the WAPA building) for $2 million minus the deductible. Much of the building was destroyed by a fire that broke out in WAPA’s executive offices a few years ago;

-approved a lease renewal for the Transportation Safety Administration for five years with 10 year option at $96 per square foot and $43 per square foot;

-approved a lease for Virgin Gorda Transport at the Edward Blyden Marine Terminal – the company would be providing ferry service to the BVI – for a term of three years with a three-year option at $7,200 per year;

-approved renewal of lease for Offshore Marine for three years – the company would be providing dry dock and boat repair services – for $79,858 per year for two parcels in Subbase, and $2.50 per sq. ft. for a third parcel;

-approved a request from resident Patrick Joseph for a use permit agreement for 754 square feet of semi-improved space within the public parking lot in Cruz Bay, St. John, to sell food and beverages. After the permit, which will cost $400 a month, is expired, the agreement shall not be renewed and the tenant will be required to move his operation out of the parking lot to allow VIPA to reclaim the space for public parking;

-approved an $83,158 change order to address an unstable area found within the Rohlsen Airport project area. The original contract amount was $431,029, but the change order increases project cost to $514,187. The project is funded through VIPA’s 2014 budget and is scheduled to be completed Jan. 21, 2014;

-approved a $152,812 contract to Ricondo and Associates to develop plans for a new aircraft rescue and firefighting facility at Rohlsen to provide firefighters with faster access to aircraft during emergencies. The contract will be funded by the Port Authority;

-approved a $445,858 supplemental agreement between URS Caribe and VIPA for construction phase services involved with the Cyril E. King Airport East Rehab Project; the project should take 360 days and is funded in large part by FAA grant funds;

-decided to retain URS Caribe to provide construction phase aviation engineering services for a period of three years. VIPA’s executive director is expected to negotiate a contract with the company;

-and approved a $33,785 supplemental agreement with URS Caribe for a project that will help relieve congestion at the exit lane of the Cyril E. King parking lot; the project will be funded by the Port Authority.

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