The Neosho City Council voted once again Tuesday evening to renew an annual loan agreement with the National Museum of the United States Air Force to hang onto a borrowed Cessna T-37A jet aircraft trainer.
The council approved the annual agreement 3-0, with members Steve Hart and David Ruth absent.
The city first requested the decommissioned aircraft in 2003, on behalf of Premier Turbines, who had planned to place the aircraft on a pedestal for static display at their plant entrance.
However, work was never performed on the aircraft, and in the past year, the city relocated the aircraft from Premier Turbines to a city-owned hangar on the east side of Neosho’s Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport.
Dana Daniel, the city’s director of development services, told council members Tuesday evening that city management has a plan for the jet.
“My hope is by fall we’ll have it painted, assembled and ready for display,” Daniel said.
He said once completed, the aircraft would be displayed at the Neosho airport, though he recommends that the exact location be brought before the council.
He said the painting should begin this summer, and that the city will use an older, existing hangar as an area to perform that work.
“We will incur some costs to paint it,” Daniel said. “But we’re not going to use aircraft paint, we’re going to get the right kind of paint to make it look right and not too expensive.”
Richard Davidson, Neosho mayor, said the city’s only annual cost is insuring the plane, which he said runs between $150 to $200 annually.
While the council has voted each year to renew the annual agreement, Davidson said next year could be a different story if progress is not made with the aircraft.
“Next March, if we’re still talking about this agreement and that plane is still in a crate, I will do my best to just send the thing back,” Davidson said. “I’m running out of runway on this take off.”
In other city business, council voted 3-0 to authorize the mayor to sign off on two Highway Safety Grant applications.
The grant, administered through the Missouri Department of Transportation, requires no local match from the city.
Dave McCracken, Neosho’s chief of police, said the two applications are for funding to focus on hazardous driving in high accident areas and on driving while intoxicated enforcement.
The department also requested funding to purchase radar units and portable breath testing units, to assist in DWI enforcement.
“We have applied for these annually and had great success in the past obtaining them,” McCracken said.
In August 2012, Neosho was awarded the grant, worth $5,000, to fund officer overtime pay for traffic alcohol enforcement within the city.
To read more about Tuesday’s Neosho City Council meeting, see Thursday’s edition of the Neosho Daily News.