City leaders and history buffs are celebrating but some neighbors are grumbling about the Commemorative Air Force arrival in Dallas.
Mayor Mike Rawlings and other dignitaries Tuesday welcomed the CAF to city owned Dallas Executive Airport.
The former Redbird Airport beat 22 other airports in the competition for a new CAF headquarters, which is leaving Midland.
The organization plans to build a museum and hangars to house vintage war planes at the airport along US Highway 67.
“We plan on having a world-class facility,” CAF President Stephan Brown said. “We plan on putting on an air show every year, the pre-eminent war bird air show, not with Blue Angels and jets flying by, but with war birds like you see today. And taking it back in time.”
Calvin Spann, a veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen, attended the ceremony for the new project.
“To see it come to fruition today makes me feel very proud that I did accomplish something in all my years,” he said.
Mayor Rawlings said the CAF brings Dallas an asset for education, patriotism and tourism that could eventually bring a new hotel and new restaurants to the area.
“This was a business deal,” Rawlings said. “We had to make it attractive for the Commemorative Air Force to come and it had to be right for us as well.”
City officials said details on private fundraising and city support for the project are still being worked out but will be subject to public discussion and Dallas City Council approval.
“Now we can be another Addison Airport, which we thought we could be a long time ago. The vision is there,” said Councilman Tennell Atkins, who represents the area.
Airport neighbor Helen Harts complained she only learned about the project from news reports.
She attended the ceremony to confront officials with complaints about expanding the airport.
“It’s very noisy. So I would have appreciated it if you would have contacted the neighborhood associations in the area before bringing this in,” Harts told Mayor Rawlings.
Atkins said he has been involved with the airport for many years and the city has always been public about desires to improve it.
“I think the neighbors who are uncomfortable with this have not come to the town hall meetings. I personally have done 10 town hall meetings were we talk about doing improvements, infrastructure. They probably need to get on the email list,” Atkins said.
The Commemorative Air Force has nearly 9 thousand members and 1,200 decommissioned aircraft, which are currently housed at many airports.
Some of the planes would relocate to Dallas Executive Airport when the group’s project is completed.
“We plan on being outstanding neighbors in the Dallas Community and we’re happy to be here,” Brown said.