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!