JJ is providing a history lesson this week on how the Jackson municipal airport came to be. Some old minutes revealed some interesting nuggets of information. Jackson nearly lost the Air National Guard units to other airports as Hawkins Field was becoming obsolete. There was wrangling with the Pentagon over how much money would be contributed by the military. Then there was the matter of the $3 million bond issue. The Jackson Airport Commissison embarked on an advertising campaign to promote the bond referendum. It is not known if Frontier Strategies got the advertising contract or if Butler Snow was the bond counsel. Some highlights of the minutes are:
*Commission discussed producing a one-minute radio commercial that would promote a bond issue funding airport construction. The proposed script state:
* (August 15, 1957) Air Force denies request for more funds. The Department of Defense will only pay for 3,000 feet of the proposed 8,000 foot runway. Jackson would have to find funds to build the remainder of the runway. General Winston Wilson (USAF) stated "he had never agreed to the expenditure of Air Force funds for an entire runway". He "express surprise" that the airport commission "understood otherwise". He said the DOD could only provide $3 million as it was a national limitation for all such expenditures. (p.4) Senator Stennis said Jackson did not have the money to build the extra five thousand feet of runway.
A modern jet-age airport is essential to the growth and development of Jackson as a major city, the commercial and administrative nerve center of Mississippi.
Jackson can obtain federal assistance, CAA money, to help build a modern airport... but ONLY if Jackson puts up a like amount. To meet this requirement, the Airport Commission is, in effect, asking the City of Jackson to LEND $3 million for this purpose. The $3 million can be obtained only through a bond issue.. and this bond issue is what you will vote for on Augusts 26.
This bond will be repaid with funds received from the sale of the present airport lands, and from the operation of the new jet-age airport to be built in Rankin County.
Even under the most unfavorable economic circumstances, we feel certain that getting the new airport.. and all it means to Jackson's growth.. WILL NOT costs any more than that necessary for maintenance alone at Hawking Field.
If the modern airport is not built now, it will be necessary to spendMUCH MORE than this half-million dollars for maintenance work alone on the present, inadequate, out of date airport.
When you are casting your votes for progress on Tuesday, August 26, be sure to mark your ballot FOR the airport bond issue. (p.2)
*(June 13, 1957). The Adjutant General expresses concern that Jackson has not yet purchased the required parcels of land to proceed with the airport project. He said the planning could not take place until the city executed the long-term lease with the MANG. The Air National Guard had already requested F84F's from the DOD. Just one problem: Hawkins Field could not handle these planes. The Jackson squadron would have to fly out of Meridian if Jackson did not build a new airport.
|F84F. Source: Wikipedia|
*(August 15, 1957) Commission is told Pentagon will probably move 183rd Tactical Recon Squadron from Hawkins Field to Gulfport if no progress is made.