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EAA Board Gives Nod To AirVenture Site Enhancements

Near-term plans focus on member amenities

AirVenture Siteplan
Looking east, this aerial image shows the two new major thoroughfares that will crisscross the grounds and improve site layout and navigation.
Larger view

October 30, 2008 — Construction continues on the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds with enthusiastic support from the EAA Board of Directors. After receiving a thorough briefing on plans and progress from the AirVenture Site Task Force during a meeting at EAA headquarters last week, the Board encouraged proceeding with existing plans to enhance infrastructure and amenities for members and event visitors. The Board also agreed to consider further plans for exhibitor facilities when it reconvenes here in April.

Signs of progress on the site-enhancement program are conspicuous: Large mounds of dirt and stone dot the landscape where bulldozers are clearing the way for two new major thoroughfares that will crisscross the grounds and improve site layout and navigation. Buildings sit on blocks, having been moved to new or temporary locations to make way for the construction. Expansive trenches are being filled with state-of-the-art underground water absorption and redistribution materials. Long tendrils of electrical wire pulled from their bails traverse the site and campgrounds, eventually to light up previously dark sectors of the grounds. New trees now stand where once there was only dust or grass.

The construction currently under way reflects the original vision of the site-enhancement master plan, with some recent adjustments and refinements resulting from EAA members’ feedback. These plans prioritize the completion of member and visitor amenities in the first phases of construction. The prioritized projects include:

  • Additional tram-service equipment to make use of the improved navigation and new thoroughfares;
  • Wayfinding towers with enhanced signage;
  • Refurbished shower and restroom facilities;
  • New and expanded areas for shade and rest, with additional benches and nearby availability of food, water, and restrooms;
  • Establishment of a restricted-vehicle zone at the heart of the show grounds;
  • An expanded EAA welcome center complex;
  • Reconfigured and expanded outdoor exhibit space for an improved shopping and information-gathering experience; and
  • Relocation of the Fly Market to be closer to the campground.

Members’ input continues to drive site-enhancement plans

The EAA Board of Directors last week received a detailed briefing from EAA’s AirVenture Site Task Force regarding the ongoing planning and implementation of the comprehensive, multi-year program to expand and enhance the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh convention grounds. The briefing included some refinements to the plans and implementation schedule resulting from feedback provided by EAA members at this summer’s AirVenture convention. Using comment cards at the EAA Welcome Center, hundreds of members weighed in with their wish lists and priorities.

“We’ve extensively polled, surveyed, and listened to members since the site-planning process began,” said EAA Executive Vice President Brian Wierzbinski, a member of the AirVenture Site Task Force. “At this year’s AirVenture, we were able to present an initial view of the multi-year master plan and ask members to comment on it. The feedback was very supportive and provided some valuable and constructive suggestions. Our members recognized the need for improvements and the benefits of modernizing and upgrading while retaining the event’s unique culture and heritage,” he said.

According to Wierzbinski, as a result of the members’ input during AirVenture, the implementation schedule includes even more attention to improving site transportation and creating more shade and rest areas for members. “The design will provide space for rest areas near facilities for food and beverage, giving visitors better opportunities to rest and recharge,” he said.

Other priorities specifically driven by members’ comments include:

  • An accelerated schedule for refurbishing campground showers with restroom facilities,
  • Improved wayfinding aids,
  • Expansion of tram service,
  • A process for managing dust from the ground and gravel roads in the campground during exceptionally dry conditions,
  • The preservation of some campground areas that have loyal return visitors year after year,
  • The establishment of the restricted-vehicle zone, and
  • The construction of a bicycle path connecting the north 40 camping area with the south-located Camp Scholler area within the next few years.

“Because of the adjustments to our site plans, members will see the site improvements that mean the most to them even more quickly,” Wierzbinski said. “The improved amenities and conveniences, coupled with improved configuration and presentation of exhibits and educational-content areas, will enhance our members’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the AirVenture experience.”

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