Friday, May 22, 2009

Filling in the gaps

For the first time, I can finally say that most of the major construction, earth-moving, and building placement projects are finished on the site. I would say that 98 percent of the landscaping is completed and grass seed is planted. Now all we need is for the grass to grow! Some of the grass that we planted two weeks ago is starting to sprout. Now, sunshine and soft rain is all we need to turn things green.

Some of the little projects still remain, such as electrical work on some of the buildings, landscaping in spot areas, and concrete pads in the food courts and exhibit areas. There are plenty of little details to finish and to talk about in the coming weeks, though.

I've included a few photos taken over the past week on the site, too. Click on the photos for a larger view. First, here's a view of the old control tower site looking southwest toward the FAA building:

Also, here's a photo looking south on Knapp Street Road, basically from the southwest side of the forums area:

Last weekend, we had more than 80 volunteers on the site. These were EAA members and Chapters from throughout the Midwest and we’re always happy to have them here. This energetic group was all over the grounds, doing things such as building picnic tables for the food courts, putting up split-rail fence at the new Bus Park, and painting some of the relocated buildings. Some of the volunteers did some retro-fitting in the volunteer bunkhouse and the Vintage Aircraft Association volunteers were doing work on their new type club/workshop building. We really appreciate their efforts and hope to see more out here in the next two months.

A couple more photos: Here one looking north along Wittman Road, the road that runs parallel to the flight line. Note how different it looks without the old control tower, which used to be just to the left of the small, light-blue building:

And finally, here's a picture taken along one of the new pedestrian thoroughfares, looking northwest toward the bus stop and the Sacred Heart Church food stand. You can see where we're hoping to see some grass grow very soon:

One of the fun things last weekend was taking the volunteers on a site tour, so they could see the changes for themselves. The most common reaction? “Wow…”

The volunteers saw that a lot of things had changed, but they’re all looking forward to AirVenture to see the final result. Some of the comments I received were that the grounds really seemed to open up after the Main Gate; that it’s going to be much easier to get to the north end of the grounds, to places such as the forum pavilions, homebuilt exhibits and the warbirds area. And EVERYBODY liked the flush toilet idea!

All of that was good to hear, because many of these volunteers have been coming to Oshkosh for 10, 20 or even 30 years and more. To many of them, it’s their site and they take great pride in it. To hear positive comments about all the work was really appreciated. Hope you’ll think the same when you get to Oshkosh this summer!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It’s a frenzy!

That’s how I describe what’s going on so far this month. It seems that my only chance to sit down is when I’m driving the truck from one place to another to check on projects. The weather is still cool for May, but at least we’ve had plenty of sunny days to get work done.

The pavers have finished putting down the porous asphalt on the new pedestrian walkways from the Main Gate to Knapp Street Road. They have a few finishing touches to complete this week, such as installing the biofilters at the edges of those walkways.

The landscapers have been working hard in the areas around the exhibit hangars and the new Flymarket location, just southwest of Exhibit Hangar D. They’ll also be working this week in the former Flymarket location as that area evolves into its new uses.

Electricians are connecting power to the relocated buildings throughout the grounds. That includes such areas as the Partner Resource Center, Main Gate admissions building and others.

We’re also pinpointing areas for the five wayfinding towers that you’ll see on the grounds this year. I’ve included an artist’s rendering of what the concept looks like right now. These will be very useful for people to get information on directions, activities and other essential needs (a larger view is available at

There’s plenty of curiosity about the new site, even on the EAA staff, so I’ve been spending some of my time telling everyone to please limit visits to the site right now. There is a lot of fresh asphalt and plantings that we don’t want damaged early, so everything is in order when everyone arrives at Oshkosh in just a couple of months!

For right now, though, it’s back to the truck, since there’s always another project to check…