It's well known that the UH-1 Huey helicopter on display in Neosho's Morse Park has been vandalized on numerous occasions and is in poor repair. The chopper is on loan to the City of Neosho by the United States Army and has been since 1997.
Eric Kruse, commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4142, approached members of the Neosho City Council on Tuesday with a request that the helicopter be moved from the park to land owned by the VFW. Kruse also requested a zoning chance from residential to commercial so that the post can replace a sign.
"I also have a suggestion for your helicopter in Morse Park. It gets vandalized often and we would like to move it to VFW property so it's more visible and more protected. If it were out near the road (Business Loop of I-49), I don't think it would be vandalized as much," Kruse said.
Neosho City Manager Leland Butcher agreed the move is a possibility.
"We can move the helicopter, per the Army but we are still responsible for it," he said. "If it moves to the VFW, it still remains property of the Army and the city remains responsible."
The zoning request will go to the Planning and Zoning Committee.
Possibilities for repairing the helicopter were discussed by council and the potential move will continue to be considered.
In other business, Jeff Jones, The Clay Cup, appeared before the council regarding the upcoming Bowl-A-Thon Event on Saturday, April 20 at his business. The event as described by Jones will be a street festival, closing Wood Street for several blocks between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on April 20.
Multiple potters will set up their wheels in the street and will throw bowls throughout the event.
The bowls will be donated to Watered Gardens, a Gospel rescue mission in Joplin who works with the poor for their Empty Bowls event in November. At that time, the bowls will be available for purchase for a suggested donation of $20-25 and can be filled with food from local restaurants to enjoy before taking the bowls home.
"I decided to make this a Neosho event," Jones said. "We plan to close either end of Wood Street, we'll have five potters' wheels on the street, two bands, several local musicians, and some of our favorite food trucks. This is a big deal. It's going to happen. It's going to be a yearly event."
Jones requested permission to allow Indian Springs Brewing Company, Neosho, to sell their brewed products in a limited area. 10% of the proceeds will go to Watered Gardens.
"When we can have a town party that will bring people in from other areas like we've never seen before," Jones said.
Council granted permission for Indian Springs Brewing Company to sell products in the limited area of the festival.
"We're good?" Jones said. "Then let's party!"
An agreement with WCA to provide dumpsters and trash service to downtown business owners and residents was also approved.
Another item on the agenda was the appointment of an assistant (acting) city manager for times when the city manager may be out of town or out of the office due to illness or other reasons. Several council members noted that in the past the Chief of Police or Fire Chief has been designated as assistant/acting city manager. Butcher suggested that Economic Development Director Rachel Holcomb be considered for the position.
"My recommendation is Rachel Holcomb," Butcher said. "Three months ago I asked the Chief of Police and he turned it down. I believe Rachel has the skill set."
The council voted unanimously for Neosho Chief of Police David Kennedy to serve as acting city manager in the absence of Butcher.