It’s Your Money: The cost of preserving Myrtle Beach’s military history

It’s Your Money: The cost of preserving Myrtle Beach’s military history

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Military aircrafts on display at Myrtle Beach’s Warbird Park remind visitors of the city’s former Air Force Base. But those planes are in much needed repair.

Coastal weather and age has caused the paint to fade, peel and rust on the aircraft.

This month, the city is allocating nearly $86,000 to repaint and restore the planes.

The planes are on loan from the U.S. Department of Defense and part of that agreement requires the planes to be kept to certain standards.

“It does say in the contract that we have that if we do not maintain those planes to their standards or to an acceptable level, they can come back and take them away,” said Richard Kirby, Myrtle Beach’s parks maintenance superintendent.

Kirby explained the way the planes are painted and how the work is done is all outlined in the agreement with the federal government.

Kirby said every two years the city needs to send in a report with photos to the department to monitor the condition of the planes.

The city has repainted the planes a few times since the park opened but Kirby said recently painting has been put off for multiple years due to funding.

While expensive, Kirby said the price falls inline with the detailed work required.

“You aren’t just going out there and taking a sprayer and spraying paint all over them," he said. “There’s a lot of intricate detail work that has to be done. You have to take the old paint off, have to put multiple coats of paint, you have to put new decals on it. It’s hand-oriented work and it’s expensive.”

The painting will be done to preserve the historical accuracy and maintain all the original markings.

This year the project will be competed by Stalvey Construction. The company won a bid for the project back in 2018.

The repainted is funded through the city’s Capital Improvement Fund, which is made up from a variety of sources including business license fees and property tax revenue.

Myrtle Beach’s 2019-2023 General Capital Improvements Plan will use $7.7 million this year and spend $35 million over the next five years, according to the city’s budget.

Kirby said the maintenance is something the city wants to do to honor the men and women who served.

“It’s a tribute to the military and all the people who served here since the 1940’s,” Kirby said. “It is one of our most frequently visited parks.”

“We want them to look good and be in good condition to honor the people who served in the military installations here since the 1940’s,” Kirby said.

The city said the park will be closed periodically for the next few weeks beginning February 18 until the work is compete.

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