MILTON — Milton High School has been home for the T-28B Trojan aircraft display since 1976 when it was loaned to the city by the Naval Aviation Museum. However, that could all soon change.

An inspection by the Naval History Heritage Command and PRES LLC determined that the display needs a number of repairs in order for the city to keep the loan.

The city council discussed the cost of maintenance on the plane at the July 2 executive city council meeting. During the meeting Milton resident George Jordan approached the council with an alternative suggestion—a full-scale panther statue where the plane is.

Jordan provided pictures of several versions of panther statues to the council including a bronze panther which he says would be more cost efficient to maintain than the T-28B.  

“You know all of us like and appreciate the airplane exhibit,” Jordan said. “We’d like to keep the display just like it is, just like it has been for many years. But to bring the maintenance back up to the level acceptable to the aviation museum is going to be awful expensive.”

Jordan said the bronze panther would cost a one time cost of $6,450. He said he is not trying to push for the panther but wanted to offer an alternative in case the cost of trying to preserve the plane is indeed too high.

Councilwoman Mary Ellen Johnson said she remembered a previous panther statue stood in another location on the school grounds at one time that had been removed.

The maintenance of the T-28B could exceed $80,000. Councilman Alan Lowery said the council should move this to committee of the whole and think carefully about Jordan's suggestion.

Discussion will continue at the committee of the whole meeting at 3:30 p.m. July 19.