Construction Update July 2017

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A legion of generous volunteers and donors are helping us move forward with renovation of the Willow Run Bomber Plant to become the Yankee Air Museum’s new home!

During World War II, the full force of American industrial might was mobilized to save the world. The crown jewel of America’s Arsenal of Democracy was the colossal Willow Run Bomber Plant, where B-24 bombers rolled off the assembly line at the astonishing rate of a bomber every hour.

In late 2014, we succeeded in preserving a portion of the storied Bomber Plant to become the Yankee Air Museum’s future home.

This year, in 2017, in addition to continuing work on the exterior painting, we’ve launched “The Big Dig” at Willow Run, a major infrastructure project that is the first step to restoring full utility services to the building.

When the main portion of the original facility was demolished, it left our preserved portion with no utilities. Basic services such as permanent electricity and lighting, a heating system, a fire suppression system, potable water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater services need to be restored.

Our next step as we continue to “Save the Bomber Plant” is to do the trenching work necessary to bring these critical utilities back to the building.

Unlike hooking up a new home in a residential area, the nearest electrical and gas lines to the Bomber Plant are more than 2000 feet away from the building. To put this in perspective, that’s the length of 5½ football fields. So when we call this “The Big Dig,” we really mean it... we need to dig a trench over 5 football fields long.

The Big Dig also includes work to replace the storm water drainage system and bring sanitary sewer connections closer to the building, and the installation of new water mains for both potable water and fire suppression water. Only after The Big Dig brings utility service lines nearer to the building, can we then begin the work of installation and hookup within the building.

We estimate the total cost of this year’s “Big Dig” to be between $1.2 and $1.5 million, of which we still need to raise $400,000. The great news is that several generous companies and organizations have stepped forward to donate pro-bono materials and construction services to help make it happen, and much of the work is already underway. But, we still need cash donations to complete the job.