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Author Topic: Aviation group finds a new home at south end of Meacham Airport  (Read 2871 times)

Offline tigershark

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Aviation group finds a new home at south end of Meacham Airport
City leases site to aviation group for use as museum for Vietnam-era military aircraft

FORT WORTH — The confessional and classrooms of the former Our Lady of Guadalupe school on the city’s north side will soon be torn out and remade into a different kind of learning environment.

The OV-10 Bronco Association, with its growing collection of warbirds from the Vietnam era, has signed a lease with the city to take over the closed Catholic school on the southern edge of the Meacham Airport property and fashion it into the city’s newest aviation-related museum.

"We’re tickled to death to be down here," said Jim Hodgson, executive director of the group and a commercial pilot who lives in Grapevine.

The association and its Forward Air Control Museum and Memorial Air Park have leased space from the Vintage Flying Museum adjacent to Meacham for about a decade.

But the group, which has been aggressively acquiring airplanes with local ties such as an F-14 Tomcat, F-111 Aardvark and RF-8 Crusader, needed more room and flexibility, and a city aviation museum is still years away.

The association approached the city about leasing the old school, which the city bought several years ago as part of its effort to clear out owners around Meacham’s noisiest corridors.

The city leased the building and land to the association at no cost, but only for three years. But the city can shorten the lease if it needs the property for a new fire station, said Kent Penney, the city’s airport systems director.

"We didn’t have a lot of use for it now," Penney said. "We will provide the space as long as we can for them. If we do have to move forward with the fire station, we’ll try to do it so that they get as much lead time as possible."

The Bronco Association hopes that a new building and greater visibility on Long Avenue will generate more interest and visitors, including school field trips.

"There are 22 schools within five miles of this place," said Hodgson, who was a Marine Corps pilot in Vietnam.

The B-36 Peacemaker Museum, which has been either transient or homeless for the last few years, will also set up in the new museum.

Most of the city’s aviation-related nonprofits have been working toward a permanent and comprehensive museum, but because financial problems have affected government, foundations and corporations, virtually no one expects that effort to take off for some time.

"We’re excited about this," said Bob Adams, a leader in the B-36 group. "We’ve been looking for a home for a long time."

The Bronco Association hopes to open by August, after the volunteer-driven remodeling of the school.



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