LABELLE — Besides two routine approvals for ongoing work at the LaBelle Airport that were on its agenda July 16, the Hendry County Board had a more exciting matter to deal with regarding the improvements being made there.
The staff report to commissioners said that two responses to the county’s Request for Qualifications for a terminal concessionaire were received and opened June 5. Two firms — Xl4 Cafe and Short Cakes LLC — submitted proposals. A selection committee composed of Keitha Daniels of the Hendry County Economic Development Council, R. Shane Parker, Hendry County public works director, and Kim White, a LaBelle Advisory Board member, first heard presentations from the two companies and toured the facility before discussing and ranking them on July 2.
The firm ranked higher was Short Cakes LLC.
According to the staff recommendation, it is “an established restaurant in LaBelle,” currently licensed. In return for a commercial lease of the designated space, the report said, “Short Cakes will pay $350 per month and will provide daily cleaning services for the terminal building, with the exception of the conference room and office.”
Commissioner Darrell Harris immediately made a motion for approval, and Commissioner Michael Swindle seconded.
Commissioner Karson Turner wanted to know, “Are we providing everything so that restaurant can exist … and are we going to do it in a first class manner?”
Director Parker rose to tell the board, “No, they’ve got to do that.” Commission Chairman Mitchell Wills asked him to explain.
“We’ve got a shell and we’ve got a hood, exhausts,” Mr. Parker answered, “and they’ve got to provide the tables and the stove and fryers and stuff like that. They have a grease trap,” he added, saying the eatery will be viable for Department of Health permitting.
Commissioner Michael Swindle said, “It’s very attractive to the aviation community to have a spot that you can fly to and have lunch or breakfast or dinner, so I think that will be very nice.”
Mr. Turner noted, “One of the best breakfast spots in al Okeechobee County is in their airport. So that’s a good deal. I’m glad we’re doing this.”
Commissioner Harris asked, “When are you going to have the grand opening?”
He was asking about the terminal’s opening, and Mr. Parker said it would be quite soon, in the beginning of August. He said the Florida Airport Council is meeting up with all the Federal Aviation Administration and Florida Department of Transportation representatives, “and I’m sure they’re going to want to be there for that first meeting.”
The routine agenda items concerning the airport were: a Supplemental Task Authorization (STA #1) with Owen Ames Kimball for preconstruction phase services, including design and bid phases, for the main hangar repair project, for a lump sum of $11,190; and the master agreement with Owen Ames Kimball for construction management of the airport main hangar work. The latter and the actual construction will be paid out of insurance proceeds, since the repairs are needed due to damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017. It includes but is not limited to, a new roof, window seals, interior painting, replacement of acoustical ceiling tiles, new light ballast, interior remodeling and drywall repairs. The preconstruction phase will determine the actual guaranteed maximum price for the repairs.
The board OK’d the firm on a 5-0 vote.
Chris Felker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.