October 8, 2012 in City

Getting There: Group aims to build museum at Felts Field

Facility will focus on military, aerospace
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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A nonprofit organization is gearing up for a campaign to create a new military and aerospace museum at Felts Field in northeast Spokane.

The Spokane Airport Board recently approved a lease to allow construction of the museum on a 14,400-square-foot parcel on Rutter Avenue just west of the Felts Field terminal.

Larry Krauter, chief executive officer for Spokane airports, said the project is part of an overall plan to upgrade the Felts Field Historic District and enhance its connection to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The organization formerly known as the Armed Forces and Aerospace Museum Society voted last week to change its name to the Honor Point Military and Aerospace Museum.

A pair of events this fall are planned to increase visibility of the group and to set the stage for a $6 million fundraising campaign.

The museum is teaming up with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture for a 50-year anniversary exhibit of Spokane’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Atlas ballistic missiles based in Spokane were on alert during that crisis.

The exhibit at the MAC will run from Oct. 17 through 29.

On Nov. 12, a Veterans Day observance will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. at Felts Field to recognize veterans, including Purple Heart recipients. Exhibits at the event will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

Krauter said Felts Field has an active cadre of historic aircraft owners, so having a museum next to the older aircraft is a natural fit.

Plus, Felts Field’s history as a birthplace for both military and civilian aviation in the Northwest makes it the logical choice for the museum, Krauter said.

The art deco terminal reflects the energy and excitement of early air travel. Its companion clock tower, named after aviation pioneer Nick Mamer, is a significant landmark along with historic hangars and historic National Guard headquarters.

The planned collection, now held by the MAC, is from the former Fairchild Heritage Museum, with artifacts, documents and photos dating back to the mid-1800s.

That museum closed in 2002, and a special act of Congress allowed the collection to remain in Spokane under the control of the MAC.

“The collection is considered world class,” said Tony DeLateur, chair of the Honor Point museum.

Supporters of a new museum previously sought to build on the south side of Spokane International Airport, but Krauter suggested that Felts would be a better place because of its history and local aviation activity. Plus, security issues are more easily resolved there, museum members said.

Krauter said there is a possibility that a new museum building could be large enough to house Western Aviation, which provides fuel and maintenance for aircraft at Felts.

A revitalization plan for the airport calls for a new entryway on Fancher Way just north of Trent Avenue. Street and landscaping improvements are also proposed, Krauter said.

Open house on Centennial Trail gap

An open house to talk about options for filling a gap in the Centennial Trail will be held Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St.

The gap under discussion is from Bridge to Boone avenues.

East Francis work postponed

Reconstruction of Francis Avenue from Division to Market streets has been postponed until the 2013 construction season after problems assembling needed right-of-way were encountered earlier this year.

But another project on Francis has gotten under way.

The state is going to tear out the overpass bridge just east of Market Street and replace it with a new, larger bridge to allow room for the North Spokane Corridor.

Workers have already installed crossing signals at the railroad grade level just north of the existing bridge. Work on a temporary crossing started last week. Once that is completed, the old bridge will be demolished and the new one built.

Funding is also available to do freeway grading and preparation work through that area, including track realignment and extension of a bike and pedestrian trail into historic Hillyard.

Euclid, 29th expected to reopen

Euclid Avenue from Crestline to Market streets is expected to reopen in time for this morning’s commute, city officials said.

On the South Side, 29th Avenue from High Drive to Grand Boulevard should reopen by Wednesday.

Be prepared for lane closures

• Pavement crack sealing on Division Street from Francis Avenue to the Y at Country Homes Boulevard could result in daytime lane closures and slowed traffic through Thursday.

• Lane restrictions are also in place for a sidewalk project at Newport Highway and Hawthorne Road.

• Drain cleaning on Interstate 90 from Argonne Road to Four Lakes could cause lane closures where work is under way.

• A grinding project on I-90 west of the Maple Street interchange along Sunset Hill is causing a reduced speed limit and lane closures from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

SRTC survey aids planning

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council is developing a new metropolitan transportation plan to guide projects over the next 20 years and beyond. Members of the public can weigh in at surveymonkey.com/s/GD5J85P.

Free parking today downtown

Parking is free today at downtown Spokane meters because of the Columbus Day observance.

Signal work on U.S. 95 in Hayden

New signal lights are going in starting today at U.S. Highway 95 at Lacey Avenue in Hayden. Left turns will be prohibited during the work.


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