Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gary, Indiana: Air Show grounded this year

GARY — Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced Monday the city will not host an air show at the Gary/Chicago International Airport this year.

The show, however, may take flight next year.

"We will not host the show this year; we will focus on next year,” said Freeman-Wilson in a statement early Monday afternoon.

The announcement doesn't come as a surprise based on comments made by the mayor last week.

"The risk inherent in incurring a $350,000 debt without having secured all the sponsors cannot be justified under our current financial conditions," Freeman-Wilson said in a statement Friday.

"Our first job is to be good stewards and our team has determined that we cannot afford to host the Gary Air Show. We know that a fully sponsored show is attainable and we will begin immediately to work on making that happen," she said.

Gary's Communications Director LaLosa Burns said last week that Monday was the deadline for the city to notify the air teams who would perform. She told The Times the city contributes about $50,000 to the show in public safety support, but cannot afford the remaining $300,000 or more needed to get it off the ground again.

A corporate sponsor could not be found in time for this year's event.

Freeman-Wilson noted the event not only offers the ability to provide recreational opportunities for residents, but also to showcase "two of our greatest jewels, the Gary Chicago Airport and Marquette Park."

While the event has been one of the most visited in Northwest Indiana, the venue on Gary's Miller beaches made it difficult to collect admission from the hundreds of thousands watching the show.

Speros Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, said last week the authority lost $1.4 million during the nine-year period it was involved in the show. The show was canceled in 2013 because federal budget issues made military demonstrations unavailable and in 2014 because the city could not afford police, ambulance and park support services for the event.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.nwitimes.com

1 comment:

  1. From the airport to Marquette park is over 9 miles. Hard to see a planes
    that far away.