ZEPHYRHILLS — The Zephyrhills City Council unanimously accepted the low bid of a Tallahassee construction company Monday for a runway rehabilitation project at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.
C.W. Roberts Contracting was selected from five bidders with a low bid of $4.7 million.
The company will rehab the airport’s runway 4-22, which is in disrepair, and install lighting on taxiway A. Mike Handrahan, airport manager, said it is the largest project to improve the airport since it was built in the 1940s.
“It will include a complete rebuild [of the runway] from the base,” Handrahan said. He said the project also will include more than 80 lighting fixtures on taxiway A and construction of a new aircraft run-up pad for runway 18.
About $5 million in funds from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation and the city will be used for the project. Preparatory expenses for the project make up the difference between the bid and the available funding.
The airport’s 4-22 runway is 5,001 feet long and 100 feet wide. Initial funding would only pay for a 75-foot width for the runway project, but Handrahan said that would be detrimental to airport business and growth. Corporate jets often will not land on 75-foot wide runways, he said.
The city appealed to the FDOT to provide funding to rehab the runway at 100 feet wide and it was approved. Airport staff also found extra money by deferring other airport projects.
The exact start date for the project has not been set. The contractor is expected to begin soon and the project is expected to take about nine months to complete.
In other action, the council also unanimously approved Chancey Road Christian Church and The Samaritan Project of Zephyrhills as partners in applying for a state grant on homeless prevention.
City Manager Jim Drumm told the council that the funds being sought are leftover funds from a state Emergency Solutions grant. In March, Drumm had received complaints from council members and the public because he did not take advantage of the grant.
Drumm said he didn’t have enough time to complete the application.
“We learned about it very late and we were given a very short window to prepare,” he said in March. “We had less than 10 days to get it processed, and we were concerned that it wasn’t enough time to put together a quality proposal.”
Drumm said the city was informed of the availability of the leftover funds last week and that staff “quickly scrambled” to review the grant requirements and advertise the need for a nonprofit partner to administer the grant funds.
To ensure success, the city approached several organizations that were determined to have the know-how to carry out the administrative duties. Chancey Road Christian Church and The Samaritan Project applied jointly and were the only applications received.
Samaritan Project and the Chancey Road Christian Church joined together for the grant because a paperwork error by the state has delayed The Samaritan Project’s nonprofit status approval.
The purpose of the grant is to assist individuals and families in finding permanent housing. The grant pays for both housing relocation, including rental application fees, security deposits, utility deposits or payments, last month’s rent, and housing search costs.