Rush City is working to solve the parking shortage at the Rush City Regional Airport.

During the Rush City Council meeting April 26, the council approved a bid of $87,900 with contractor Northwest Total Site for the Rush City Regional Airport parking lot expansion project.

In a memorandum to the city about project scope, bid quotes and other recommendations, Jake Jorgenson, airport engineer with Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), said the project will solve the parking shortage challenge the airport has been experiencing.

“The airport has seen increased activity and parking needs from based and transient aircraft users, flight training, and Lake Regional Medical (Life Link),” Jorgenson wrote in the same memo. “Due to the increased demand, users have been parking in the grass area near the proposed parking lot location along 516th Street.

“Currently, the airport has only five auto parking spaces …,” he continued. “The work will include base preparation, aggregate base and bituminous paving along with culverts and draintile for enhanced drainage.”

The city awarded the lowest bid amount recommended by Jorgenson. The other bids were from Gustafson Excavating for $88,185 and Helmin Construction for $91,587.

“The bids were higher than the engineer’s estimate as well as the quotes received in the initial bidding in late 2020,” Jorgenson added. “In conversations with the low-bid contractor, reasons for the higher pricing included material cost, availability and relatively small amounts of quantities. Despite the work being higher than the estimate, the quotes were competitive and are still reasonable given the smaller nature of the project.”

Other airport projects

The council also learned the airport received another three bids for the installation of wind cones, which are colorful tools that provide information to pilots such as wind speed and direction. The installation of two wind cones, called L-807, would supplement already installed wind cones at both runway ends.

In another memorandum, Jorgenson explained that SEH estimated the project to cost about $114,800. The quotes that the project received include Vinco Inc. for $94,135; NEO Electric Solutions for $94,635; and Parsons Electric for $109,816.

Jorgenson recommended the city award Vinco Inc. for the 2021 Supplemental Wind Cone Project, which would be contingent on the reception of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant.

“Because of the American Rescue Plan that was recently passed, we are anticipating that the FAA will pay 100% of this project cost,” City Administrator Amy Mell said.

The council approved Jorgenson’s recommendation to contract with Vinco Inc. for the project.

Next in-person meeting

The council is planning to conduct an in-person meeting that will include a public hearing regarding the Frandsen Avenue reconstruction project on May 10. The council will also discuss details of the city bonding amount and the percentage that property owners will be assessed for the street project. The meeting will still be broadcast live on Zoom.

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