Air show promoter pitches plan for May event at Dalton Municipal Airport.

The nation's top military pilots could perform daring acrobatics in the skies over the Dalton Municipal Airport next May.

On Monday, during the Dalton City Council's work session, John Cowman, president of JLC AirShow Management, briefed council members on a proposed "Wings Over Dalton" airshow that would be held at the airport May 9-10, 2020.

Headquartered in Rome, JLC AirShow Management presents air shows across the nation, including in Rome for the past eight years. "Wings Over North Georgia" is Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 there.

Margaret Thigpen, executive director of the Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau, asked Cowman to consider Dalton as an airshow site.

"We saw the success that he was having with his shows in Rome and believed this would be something that could benefit Dalton," she said.

The shows typically feature flying demonstration teams from the United States military, such as the Air Force F-22 Raptor team or the Navy and military demonstration parachute teams such as the Special Operations Command Para-Commandos team, as well as airplane races and musical performances.

"It's still early to be talking about all of the details," said Cowman. "It will be similar to the Rome show but with some different performers. We don't want them to be the same.

Cowman said the show could draw 50,000 people from an 80-mile radius around Dalton.

Those numbers concerned City Council member Denise Wood, who expressed concern about where those people would park and the logistics of getting them to the airport, which is about eight miles from downtown Dalton.

There is a large field adjacent to the airport that could handle some of the parking but Woods said she didn't think it could handle nearly all of the anticipated vehicles.

Airport Manager Andrew Wiersma acknowledged that parking is an issue that will have to be addressed. He suggested that perhaps additional parking could be provided at the Dalton Mall. Mayor Dennis Mock said he thought the parking issue could be addressed.

But Mock and Woods both balked at the idea the city would have to put up seed money for the event.

"The seed money has a repayment schedule based on how the show performs," said Cowman.

But Wood said if the show doesn't perform as expected the city could be out all or part of whatever money it puts up.

Mock said when the Dalton Airport Authority meets later this month one of the things he would like for members to do is to discuss ways to attract private sources to put up any seed money.

React to this story:

5
0
0
0
1