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Commissioners Vote To Bring Back Popular Ft. Lauderdale Air Show

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The US Air Force Thunderbirds in a precision formation at the Ft. Lauderdale Air and Sea Show on 5/5/07. (Source: CBS4)

The US Air Force Thunderbirds in a precision formation at the Ft. Lauderdale Air and Sea Show on 5/5/07. (Source: CBS4)

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4)- Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted to bring back the popular air show under a new name, the Lauderdale Air Show, in April 2012.

The decision was made an emergency meeting Tuesday night.

The meeting came after two separate plans for the show surfaced, forcing the city to choose between the two companies. The winning company, B. Lilley, Inc, promises no taxpayer dollars will be used. Instead, the company says, big name sponsors will pay for the event.

The last air show was held four years ago in 2007 because the city did not have enough sponsors.

Weeks after a group received permission to develop a 2012 event, promoters of a failed 2010 show have reappeared. They say they were shocked to learn about the new group, have quietly been working on plans for next year and that the city has a contract to back their show, the Sentinel reported.

The old Air & Sea Show drew thousands of people for 13 years to the beach to watch flyovers by military fighters, bombers and civilian stunt pilots.

But in 2007 the show came to a halt after its title sponsors withdrew.

The latest effort to revive the show combines longtime beach developer Ramola Motwani and B. Lilley Inc., who produced the Cocoa Beach air show for three years.

On June 21, they laid out plans to city commissioners for a scaled-back version of the air show, which would focus north of Sunrise Boulevard and would run from noon to 4 p.m. April 28-29.

Commissioners agreed to write to the Air Force and Navy to reserve planes for the Motwani-B. Lilley show and have their attorneys draw up an agreement for the special event.

But public relations consultant Stan Smith objected.

Smith had tried to organize an air show in 2010, according to the Sentinel. But Smith wasn’t able to get enough money and sponsorships for the promised resurrection.

According to the Sentinel, Smith said the contract he worked out with the city for a 2010 show allows him to host one in 2012. He told commissioners this week that he is been working on plans for a show April 28-29 as well.

But that caught the city, beach activists and the Motwani-B.Lilley team by surprise.

Seiler and city officials said they had not heard anything from Smith since the fall.

But while Smith said the city has a contract with him, city attorneys say that is not true. They said any city obligation ended when Smith failed to produce a 2010 show.

City commissioners have instructed their staff to review each proposal and determine how much the city would have to charge to provide needed services. The proposals will be present Tuesday from each team and a decision is expected to be made.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Sun Sentinel contributed to this report.)

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