Author Topic: City and Air Guard renewal agreement is a 'win-win'  (Read 1496 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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City and Air Guard renewal agreement is a 'win-win'
« on: November 03, 2021, 06:47:10 AM »

Interesting Read

In the air traffic control tower at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, a controller radios to a C-130 making its way down the runway, giving it the all-clear for takeoff.

The 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard, which is based at Rosecrans, is having a training session. For residents, this means constant C-130 flyovers.

But to get those behemoth planes in the air requires a joint city and military partnership — one that was recently renewed in October for 10 more years.The Airport Joint Use Agreement provides cost-sharing for certain operational expenses the city and the Guard both utilize at Rosecrans. The agreement will provide the airport with $55,156.28 annually, about $10,000 more than the previous one.

However, those funds can only be spent on operation and maintenance of areas that are used by both the city and the 139th Airlift Wing.

“Both us civilians and military use these runways and taxiways, so we have to use that money to buy equipment for mowing and snow removal and paying for the electric bill and operational costs that both of us use,” said Abe Forney, the general manager at Rosecrans.

But more importantly, the agreement extends the city and the Guard’s relationship, which significantly benefits St. Joseph.The 139th Airlift Wing has more than 1,000 members and 400 full-time employees and an economic impact of more than $200 million to the surrounding communities.

“We bring one of the number one uses of local hotel rooms,” said John Cluck, the 139th Airlift Wing commander. “We are, I think, the fourth largest employer in town, so we bring a lot to the city. Fortunately, the city brings a lot to the Guard, through support from all our local elected officials, the Chamber of Commerce, Community Alliance. We feel like we’re all one part of one big team.”

But the teamwork between the city and the Guard extends beyond the economy. Members of the 139th Airlift Wing have volunteered their time helping the community during floods and storms.

The renewal of the Airport Joint Use Agreement coincides with the 139th Airlift Wing’s transition to the north end of Rosecrans, further establishing its desire to be in St. Joseph long term.

“It just further embeds us in this local community and gives stability to our future and how long we want to be here,” Cluck said. “We want to be here serving the local area and local citizens for generations to come, and this will help do that.”

At the end of training, a controller in the tower helps the C-130 land at the city-owned airport — an example of how the 139th Airlift Wing and the City of St. Joseph work together.

“Anytime you got a good town, it helps support the Guard, and then, in turn, the Guard helps support the city,” City Councilman Kent O’Dell said. “It’s a win-win situation.”