County Considering Helicopter Rides at Fair

Saline County Commissioners were excited to hear that the Tri-Rivers Fair Board has been working to bring helicopter rides to the fair on August 10 th and 11 th .

A brochure promotes that DWTA Helicopters could offer a 3½-4 minute flight over the Tri-Rivers Fair for $40/person. There would be no age limit and the helicopter can take 3 passengers at a time, with a minimum of 2 passengers per flight.

Salina County Administrator Rita Deister said the City could “issue a special event permit” (SEP). Nancy Schuessler, Risk Manager for the City of Salina, wrote in a July 20th e-mail to the County that the joint City-County lease of “a portion of Kenwood Park” specifically stipulates that the County must grant approval before the City can finalize any potential issuance of the SEP. Because the rides would occur during the fair, the County would have to indemnify and hold the City harmless for any claims arising out the County’s use of what is now the Tony’s Event Center’s “authorized use area”.

Deister reported that County Counselor Mike Montoya had expressed reservations about the idea. She said she had not yet received a response from the County’s insurer—Assurance Partners.

Commissioners made quick work of the 23 pages of supporting documentation, noting that while every rider would sign a liability waiver, and while DWTA Helicopters would assume liability, the County could still be on the hook of any lawsuit should things go awry.

Commissioner Mike White quipped that “it would be alright, if we could proceed without insurance and lawyers”.

Chairman Monte Shadwick said he supported the idea, but noted that he and Vidricksen had reservations that needed to be addressed. Shadwick said that it “just wasn’t prudent to make decisions without all the facts”.

Commissioners agreed to meet again later in the week to vote on the matter, once additional information is known.