Dickinson adding T-hangars at Ford Airport

IRON MOUNTAIN – Dickinson County is adding a 10-unit hangar building at Ford Airport to provide more space for private aircraft.

The county board approved a contract Monday with Superior Steel Systems of Iron Mountain to build the 10 T-hangars at a cost of $291,483. Superior was the low bidder among four firms that submitted offers.

Commissioner Joe Stevens said the project is overdue and should be “great for the county.” The lack of indoor storage for private aircraft has long been a concern, he said.

Board Chairman Henry Wender voted against the contract, saying the estimated 30-year payback is far too slow.

“I do hope it goes and is well-used,” Wender said.

The county plans to finance the work by borrowing from the airport’s Fontana Trust Fund, repaying the loan at 1.5 percent interest. The borrowing will leave the principal of the trust fund intact, according to County Controller Nicole Frost.

Details of the financing, the rental fees, and other costs associated with the project are still being worked out.

The construction cost includes a $134,566 payment to Fulfab Inc. of Canton, Ohio, for a pre-built structure (measuring 50 x 231 feet) and $156,917 to Superior Steel for a concrete foundation and installation. Superior’s bid includes electrical work but does not include plumbing or heating.

The two costs were separated to allow the county to pay no sales tax on the structure, Frost explained.

In other action Monday, the county board:

– Heard a presentation from Dennis Larson of Sons of American Legion Squadron 50 on plans to expand the U.P. Veterans Memorial on county-owned property at Pine Mountain. Larson noted that about $250,000 has been invested at the memorial without need for taxpayer funds. The latest plans will provide space for several thousand more memorial pavers, as well as improved lighting, he said. Board members will review the proposal further. Meanwhile, they commended the memorial committee volunteers for their work and dedication.

– Approved a request from Probate Judge Thomas Slagle to fill a full-time position for a juvenile officer.

– Accepted the appointments of Dickinson County Construction Code representatives Dennis Baldinelli of Kingsford (Joe Groeneveld, alternate) and Denny Olson of Breitung Township (Joe Rogina, alternate).

– Welcomed Paul Putnam, who began serving in March as the Michigan State University Extension’s district coordinator for Menominee, Dickinson, Iron, Marquette, Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Gogebic and Baraga counties. Putnam comes to MSU Extension from the University of Wisconsin Department of Community, Natural Resources and Economic Development, where he was an associate professor and a county-based educator for the University of Wisconsin Extension.

– Adopted a resolution congratulating the city of Niagara, Wis., on its recent centennial celebration.

Jim Anderson’s email address is janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.