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Organizers acquire A-4 Skyhawk for display, but need more funding

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BRASHER FALLS — An A-4 Skyhawk, a Vietnam-era warplane, will make the journey from Florida to Brasher Falls, but organizers of the effort to land the plane say they’ll need more money before it can be put on display near the Brasher Municipal Building.

James Kelley, David MacMillan and Gene Cummings have been working since 2012 to obtain a plane on loan from the U.S. government that they could display in downtown Brasher Falls as a tribute to area veterans. Mr. Kelley told Brasher town board members this week that they were successful in getting a plane from Pensacola, Fla.

“We were offered a plane last January. We thought we were going to have to wait a couple of years,” Mr. Kelley said.

He said they had raised $28,900 so far, and it will cost $30,000 to ship the plane to the north country. The men will be responsible for maintaining it and ensuring it is secure after its arrival.

“We’re getting closer to reaching our goal. We set a budget and started raising money. Our original goal was $75,000. Now we have enough money to get the airplane to Brasher Falls,” he said.

The low bidder for transporting the plane was Worldwide Aircraft Recovery in Nebraska. It will take the engine out of the plane and disassemble it for transport to Brasher Falls, where it will be reassembled. It hopes to have the plane on site in August.

At this point, organizers have more than 100 contributors to the effort, according to Mr. Kelley.

But, he said, the group still needs to raise money to put the plane on display. Mr. Kelley said John Ward has offered space to store the plane until the group can build up enough funding for the display.

“When we set the budget up, we told the town board what it would be. We don’t have all of that money yet. We do have $30,000 to get the plane,” he said. “John Ward has offered his property to set the plane when we get it.”

Mr. Kelley said they are looking for both federal and state grant funding to move the project forward, as well as searching for more contributors.

“If this project ever failed, which we pray it never did, everybody will get every nickel back,” he said.

The three local organizers are working on the project with Munson “Sid” Snedeker, another Brasher Falls native and a 1954 graduate of Massena High School, who spent his career in the Marine Corps before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in October 1981. Mr. Snedeker and his wife, Ginger, own and operate G&S Warbirds, which can help individuals or groups locate planes and find someone to ferry the planes to another location.

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