Scottsdale leaders OK WWII Stearman aircraft decoration

A view of a WWII-era Boeing Stearman PT-17 Biplane. (Submitted photo)

On Jan. 24, Scottsdale City Council voted to accept a donation of a Pre-World War II Stearman aircraft from Thunderbird Field II Veterans’ Memorial, Inc. to be displayed at the Scottsdale Airport.

The vote passed 6-1, with Councilman David Smith dissenting.

The item would adopt an agreement between the Scottsdale-Thunderbird Field II Veterans’ Memorial Donation and Maintenance Agreement, and direct staff to use tourism development funds as the most appropriate funding source for the design, installation and construction costs.

Costs would include a memorial shade plaza and related display exhibit, which shall be returned to council for final budget approval, a staff report states.

The display is proposed to be adjacent to the new Aviation Business Center as part of the Terminal Area Redevelopment Project. Costs for the design and construction of the memorial shade are estimated to cost $412,500.

At a Nov. 14, 2016 city council meeting, the council was generally supportive of the aircraft donation and the conceptual idea and design of a memorial shade plaza, however, denied the request to use $412,500 in the city’s CIP general contingency funds for the cost of construction.

Scottsdale Public Art has committed $180,000 in funds for the public art portion of the terminal redevelopment project.

Per the terms of the Donation and Maintenance Agreement, the donor must have the entire cost of the aircraft either committed or on deposit with the contractor restoring the aircraft by April 1, 2017, the report states.

Upon completion of construction of the new Aviation Business Center and the shade structure, anticipated on or before April 2018, the donor will deliver to the city the aircraft ready for display.

The city shall be responsible for the cost of the design, permitting, construction, installation of the aircraft, and all costs for landscaping, utilities and insurance, the report states.

The donor is to deposit an estimated sum of $3,000 annually to cover the costs to maintain a physical appearance and integrity of the donation, the report states.

At a Dec. 20, 2016 Tourism Development Commission meeting, the Commission denied, 4-3, a funding request to support design and construction of the memorial shade plaza in the estimated amount of $412,500.

Dissenting Commissioners commented the memorial shade plaza did not identify a substantial enough return on the investment of Tourism Development Fund dollars, while others felt the capital project was not a tourism driver and not an appropriate use of Tourism Development Funds, the report states.

The Airport Advisory Commission Oct. 19, 2016, unanimously approved a motion to recommend city council authorize the contract.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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