Purchase photos

Helicopter display has options

9/7/2012

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

During Thursday's work session, Hays city commissioners considered options for a static Vietnam-era helicopter display.

Upon the direction of commissioners, which came during a June 28 meeting, city staff researched a request by John Pyle and Gary Brown of the Vietnam Veterans of America Hays Chapter No. 939 to place a static helicopter display at Hays Regional Airport.

The display would involve up to three helicopters placed in a semi-circle arrangement on an approximate 65-by-85-square-foot area.

"We looked at three sites for this, including a discussion with Jeff Boyle of the parks department about where we could place these," Public Works Director I.D. Creech told commissioners. "One of the places was the airport park. The other two were the entrances by the Hays Regional Airport."

Creech showed commissioners photos of other such displays found across the country, some of which were interactive, allowing individuals to enter the inside of the displayed aircraft.

According to a letter from Pyle, president of the VVA, the memorial will be dedicated to Richard Coffelt, who died in January, "for his lifetime of work to create the Coffelt Database." The database serves as the official record of more than 58,000 Vietnam War casualties suffered by U.S. Armed Forces.

"It merits having its own park," Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV said of the memorial display.

However, Schwaller added he preferred it not be located on airport property.

"We do not know what the FAA and DOT will require us to do with that land," he said.

Instead, Schwaller said he would rather the display be located on the airport park area adjacent to the airport.

In the event the helicopters had to be moved due to requirements by the FAA, Creech said the process would be relatively simple.

"We can put in the agreement to allow the static display along with the conditions of maintenance that they move them if we needed the property or if we needed them to do so for any reason whatsoever," he said.

A preference for locating the display inside the airport's entrance area was put forward by Commissioner Ron Mellick. He said his concern was the potential for vandalism that might exist for a display outside the airport grounds.

Commissioners will vote on whether to approve the VVA's request at next Thursday's meeting.

Commissioner Barbara Wasinger was absent.

Other work session items that will be brought forward for consideration at next Thursday's regular meeting include:

* 2012 Uniform Public Offense Code/2012 Standard Traffic Ordinance.

* Ordinance authorizing the issuance of health care facility revenue bonds for St. John's Inc.

* Resolution approving tax and securities compliance procedures

* Request for rezoning of three lots located at 22nd Street and Wheatland Avenue.

* Concrete crushing.