and facilities about the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds now sit
on blocks, awaiting relocation as part of the reconfiguration of
the site. This one sits within view of the new Wittman Regional
Airport control tower, first put into service for this summer's
convention. The old control tower, visible in the distant
background, will be razed in a matter of weeks.
Stakes in the ground,
buildings on blocks, heavy equipment, mounds of fresh earth, stacks of
saplings with canvas-wrapped roots…they're all signs that work on the
AirVenture site enhancements has begun.
"After more than three
years of gathering information, planning, and projecting, it's
gratifying to launch the initial steps in the site reconfiguration and
construction," EAA President Tom Poberezny said. Work is under way
to clear paths for new thoroughfares, relocate structures, install or
renovate amenities, and transplant trees for new shady green spaces.
During this summer's
AirVenture convention, EAA unveiled the initial vision of the 10-year
site-enhancement project, reiterated the fundamental goals underlying
those plans, and collected additional feedback from members.
"We've used surveys
and focus groups to better understand and prioritize members' needs. The
resulting plan reflects the members' clear desire to preserve
AirVenture's unique culture while making the facility improvements
necessary to advance the convention's status as a world-class aviation
event," Poberezny said.
Major features of the plan,
many of which EAA will complete within the first five years, include new
pathways and site navigation, improved transportation services,
reconfigured outdoor exhibits, upgraded restroom and shower facilities,
more campsite utility hookups, expanded wireless Internet access, and
additional green spaces. "As a result of members' feedback during
AirVenture, we've made some important refinements, such as extending the
bicycle paths," Poberezny added.
Some of the changes to be
in place for next year's convention will be conspicuous. Next year's
attendees will experience the relocation of the front gate from its
former site to a position roughly 200 feet farther west. From there, two
new major thoroughfares will fan out to the northeast and southeast,
cutting diagonally across an otherwise north-and-south, east-and-west
site layout grid.
"These new boulevards
are key to the site reconfiguration. They will provide more 'store
front' access to exhibits, offer more efficient routes to convention
attractions, allow for more convenient and timely tram service, and
establish the boundaries of a restricted-vehicles zone at the heart of
the convention grounds," Poberezny said.
Attendees to the 2009 event
will also see progress on upgraded shower facilities, shady rest areas,
campsite improvements, and other amenities. While EAA plans to complete
some of this work in time for next year's convention, other projects
will continue into the following year. Poberezny noted that numerous
factors, including the weather, can affect implementation and
construction time lines.
"We'll continue to
provide regular updates on our progress," Poberezny said.