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Airshow proposal taxis to council

Airshow proposal taxis to council

Salute to Veterans seeking 2019 host due to construction at Columbia airport

September 14th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Colonel Larry Lumpkin of the Commemorative Air Force, left, prepares to take off in a North American Aviation P-51 Mustang known as "Gunfighter" at the 25th Anniversary 2013 Salute To Veterans Air Show held at the Columbia Regional Airport on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

Jefferson City is one step closer to hosting the popular Salute to Veterans airshow next year.

The Jefferson City Council will vote on a resolution Monday directing Mayor Carrie Tergin to sign an agreement between the city and nonprofit organization Memorial Day Weekend - Salute to Veterans Corporation, which hosts the Salute to Veterans airshow.

The Jefferson City Public Works and Planning Committee approved the agreement Thursday before sending it to the full council.

Due to anticipated construction at the Columbia Regional Airport, Salute to Veterans Corporation sought a new location for its 2019 airshow. The work would prevent the corporation from putting on the event since construction includes making improvements to the main runway, corporation chairman Mary McCleary Posner said.

Since Jefferson City has helped with the celebration in past years, she said, the corporation wanted to hold the event in the Capital City. Previously, Jefferson City allowed people to park at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport and take a shuttle bus to the airshow in Columbia.

"I am so grateful to Jefferson City for doing what they are doing for the Memorial Day Weekend - Salute to Veterans celebration," McCleary Posner said. "They literally saved us."

If the city and corporation sign the agreement, the free airshows would take place May 25-26 at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport. It would feature multiple military aircrafts, McCleary Posner said.

The corporation may also host a Memorial Day parade May 27, but this has yet to be finalized, Jefferson City Operation Division Director Britt Smith said.

Smith said he spoke with the Jefferson City fire and police departments, and they were "highly supportive" of the event.

The Salute to Veterans event attracts 10,000-35,000 people every year, Smith said.

"It's such a wonderful event," Smith said. "They put on a high-quality event in Mid-Missouri for over 30 years, and the opportunity to have that in Jefferson City is extremely exciting to us. We get to showcase not only our airport but showcase the wonderful city we all live in."

The 2019 show would mark the event's 31st anniversary.

"(My father) said, 'If you can ever figure out a way to say thank you to the people who gave you the freedom you're enjoying, I want you to do it,'" McCleary Posner said. "So, I did it."

State holiday parking

To clear up confusion, the Public Works and Planning Committee approved a motion to direct city staff to draft a resolution stating the city would not enforce time-limited parking on Columbus Day. In December or January, city staff will also re-present a request stating the city not enforce time-limited parking on state holidays that don't align with the city after the committee placed the item on hold.

Columbus Day is one of three holidays where state employees are off work, but City Hall is still open. The other two holidays are Lincoln's Birthday and Presidents' Day.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin originally requested the city not enforce time-limited parking, including parking meters and parking spaces, on all three days. This request would not impact the city-operated parking garage, bus zones, loading zones or handicapped spots.

"The state is off so (customers are) surprised the city is out ticketing on those days," she said, adding downtown retail and restaurant owners "appreciate anybody who comes up on those state holidays."

The Jefferson City Transportation and Traffic Commission approved the request earlier this month.

However, some committee members said they were not comfortable not enforcing parking on the two February holidays since they believe legislators are still in session on those days. People wanting to access the Capitol building those two days may park downtown all day, Ward 3 Councilman Ken Hussey and Ward 4 Councilman Ron Fitzwater said, which would prevent parking turnover.

Smith said the Parking Division and city may lose some revenue by not enforcing those days but added the amount would be "nominal." The city makes an average of $450 a day from parking enforcement, but the three days normally bring in lower than the average amount, he added.

Since the city is discussing funding a downtown parking structure through bonds, City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said, he was concerned the request could impact the bonds. The city would use funds from the Parking Division to help pay for the bonds, he added.

"It is unclear how this type of regulation would impact the bond," Moehlman said. "I have a concern with eliminating days where we are enforcing and taking in parking revenue and whether that would be allowed when paying the bond."

He recommended the committee and City Council wait until the bond council can work out bond language before creating an ordinance based on Tergin's request.