Smiling faces abound at the Yankee Air Museum as they are set to clear the first hurdle in saving a portion of the Willow Run bomber plant. A lot of work however is still needed to achieve their goal.
Members of the Yankee Air Museum don't plan to hold any big celebrations just yet, but should have a purchase agreement signed on a portion of the historic Willow Run bomber plant in a week to 10 days. The organization has met a May 1st deadline to raise the bulk of the $8 million dollars needed to purchase a portion of the building and make it viable.
According to Museum founder Dennis Norton the biggest challenge is figuring out how basic infrastructure needs can be addressed after the bulk of the 70 year old factory is torn down. The demolition will leave the remaining portion missing a wall, as well as important utilities such as heat, electricity and water. Norton says it will be a challenge to determine where the underground lines can run to re-connect the building.
Norton adds they still need to raise some funds for the purchase of the facility and to ensure they can address any unexpected costs. He believes it will be nine months to a year after the demolition of bulk of the building before the Yankee Air Museum can begin moving some of their planes into their new home.
Norton hopes to open the new museum shortly after the planes move back. He adds additional fundraising and work will take place in the following years to continue work on the exhibit space and the convention and visitors facility.
— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.