Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As ready as we’re going to get…

It’s tough to believe opening day is just a week away. It’s been a full-out sprint over the past few weeks, trying to get all the last minute things completed. I heard that the first airplane camper arrived in the North 40 on Sunday, so it starts to become reality now.

The volunteers have really arrived in big groups over the past week as well. Area chairmen and other volunteers are now all over the grounds. It’s great to have that many helping hands, but each area always has last-minute needs that we try to meet. It’s everything from dumpsters to electrical outlets, a little chaos that you know is coming, even if you never quite get used to it.

Some of the things that were among the last big items to be placed were the two engine and nacelle markers at the Main Gate. It really gives the entrance a different look. One thing we’re adding this year are shuttles from the Orange Lot to save people steps and get them through the Main Gate efficiently. If you’re directed to that parking lot, you’ll note that vehicles will be parked first at the west end of the lot, which will allow better shuttle service.

The paving bricks were also set near the Brown Arch, so that refurbished gateway is ready for Opening Day next Monday. There are dedications for the Main Gate and the Brown Arch on Sunday afternoon (July 26), so if you’re on the grounds, stop on by.

As hard as we work to finish everything, there will be a few things that are “still in progress.” With the dry weather in July, the grass didn’t grow as rapidly as one would hope in a perfect world. There might be a few brown spots out there, but bear with us as the new look takes hold. And we hope we got the new benches in the right locations, that the flush toilets work exactly as hoped and all the new flight line traffic routes are flawless. We’ll take our best shot, and keep trying to improve from there.

There isn’t much time to think about what it’s been like for the last 11 months on the site, but when I do a couple of things come to mind. First, the sheer number of hard-working people – EAA staff, volunteers and contractors – that made it happen. The outside contractors, almost all from the local region, treated this as more than just another job. They had personal pride in this project, just as we’ve had.

Second is the sheer change that has taken place in less than a year. There is what you’ll see above the ground, but there’s at least as much that took place under the surface. The new look will require some adapting by all of us, but I really think you’ll like the end result. I’m told that additional information on future projects will be posted at the Welcome Center near AeroShell Square, so stop in there when you’re at Oshkosh.

Finally, I can’t believe that this is the 27th update I’ve made about the grounds since late last year. When I started, I wasn’t sure what I would talk about, but we certainly found enough to mention over the months. I’ll circle back after the event to give you an update.
I hope you enjoy the improvements, and we’ll see you at Oshkosh!


Frank Smidler said...

Good job on all the changes. Overall very positive. When will info be out on planned future improvements? A couple comments after camping in Homebuilt camping area. First, The north/south gravel road just south of the main N/S paved road ends abruptly were the fly market used to be. It would be nice if it were extended to connect to the new diagonal main road that goes from the main gate towards the forums. Second, it would be nice if the HBC area had a pavilon to gather at west of the showers. I like the burm west of the HBC to keep car noise, headlights, dust down. I assume when it is finished trees will be planted next to it and it will become the primo HBC camp sites.

Anonymous said...

We just completed our 27th year in the Fly Market as an exhibitor. will there be future signnage near the main gate directing people to the fly market area? Yes there is a map to find us but overall, if your not camping at Camp Scholler, many people just don't find their way to the market because it is a bit out of the way for most of the general public

Smitty said...

We had a great time. The best EVER!