Pilots outraged by rumors of secret plan to close Excelsior Springs airport

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. - Rumors of a secret plan to close the Excelsior Springs Memorial Airport has a group of pilots outraged. Now, they're trying to save the airport by forcing city council members to discuss their plan publicly.

Last summer, Jim and Sarah Dickerson proposed leasing the airport and renovating the run-down facility.

"We really thought that it would be welcomed with open arms, really, because we weren't asking the city for any money," Jim Dickerson said.

The airport board approved the move, but the couple ended their proposal after several city council meetings and a heated discussion with Councilman Chad Taylor.

"(It) basically resulted in him shouting at my husband and saying derogatory things about our group of supporters," Sarah Dickerson explained.

Earlier this month, the Dickersons heard discussion started again, but not at City Hall.

"Then we found out that Councilman Taylor was talking to the mayor of another city and talked about voting on the airport to close, and it's in the bag," Jim Dickerson said.

"We've scoured meeting minutes, we've scoured meeting notices, posted agendas -- there is no mention of it anywhere," Sarah Dickerson said.

41 Action News reached out several times to the city manager and to Taylor to ask why plans to close the airport are not mentioned in any public documents.

"So this means the city council has been meeting behind closed doors to discuss this, and they were planning to have a vote hoping that no one would hear about it or no one would be there," Jim Dickerson said.

Supporters of the airport plan to attend the next council meeting and use the public comment portion to ask that stay open.

The Dickersons created an online petition to try and stop the closure. You can view it at http://chn.ge/V7z0tP.

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