BRASHER FALLS - The drive to raise funds to bring an A-4 airplane to Brasher Falls to serve as a tribute to veterans of military service has already raised $10,000.
Weve got about $10,000 in current donations. We realize this is a busy time of the year. We are just hoping for the best, said James Kelley, one of the three Tri-Town area natives leading the drive.
Organizers are trying to raise $75,000 to land a Vietnam-era plane display in Brasher Falls.
Mr. Kelley, David MacMillan and Gene Cummings hope to display an A-4 Skyhawk plane on the banks of the St. Regis River, across from the Brasher Municipal Building, as a tribute to area veterans.
Theyre working with Munson Sid Snedeker, another Brasher Falls native and 1954 graduate of Massena High School who spent a career in the U.S. 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 help find someone to ferry them to another location.
Mr. Kelley has informed Brasher Town Board members his group met on the potential site of the display earlier this month with a civil engineering professor from Clarkson.
He was very enthused. He took a lot of notes and provided us with different scenarios for the potential location of the display, he said.
Mr. Kelley said Congressman William Owens has also sent a letter to the National Naval Aviation Museum voicing his support for the project. The group will be seeking similar letters of support from U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
The group is now starting work on the qualification packet, the first step in acquiring a plane. The plane would be on loan from the U.S. government and has to be approved by a qualified organization.
It will take a while to get that done. It could be Christmas time or even longer. But the qualification package has to be completed before we can send in engineering drawings, Mr. Kelley said.
The A-4 Skyhawk was a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. It was capable of delivering nuclear weapons using a low altitude bombing system and played a key role in the Vietnam War.
They chose that plane because of its smaller size, the men said.
The plane would be dismantled at its point of origin, shipped in a truck and then readied by the men for display in the town. It would have no engine and weighs between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds. They would need an area large enough to cover its overall length of 36 feet.