After seeing Congressman Higgins and Mayor Brown lift the gates at the Erie Basin Marina yesterday, I swung around onto Marine Drive to check out the park’s new blue aircraft pedestals. It was two summers ago when I first learned that the entire Erie Canal Terminus project was moving forward with all of the military vehicles in place just as they were (until the site plans wrapped up). The cost to move them offsite while work proceeded was too great, which meant that the digging machines and the workers were literally working around them. My question at that time was, “Where are all of these jets, tanks and missiles going to end up?”
I remember that the October 2006 tour that I took was very early on in the progress of the Inner Harbor development. If you go to that link, be sure to click on the slide show that depicts exactly what the site looked like at that time. At that point, the Whipple Truss Bridge was still under construction (off site), though the new Naval Museum was being erected (no bricks yet). Since that time the military vehicles have found a home just outside the entranceway to the museum.
I called over to the Naval Park and spoke with Office Manager Anita Barill about the latest additions to the park. “The P39 aircraft, currently hanging from the museum ceiling, was built in Buffalo,” she told me.
“The aircraft that you see with the blue pedestals are going to be our outside exhibit area. Soon there will a permanent fence there, as we are counting on the attraction as just one more benefit to admission. The helicopter was based at the Niagara Falls airbase, as was the Voodoo jet, flown by the Rainbow Squadron. The new museum will be opening to the public on March 28th and will remain open seven days a week until the end of October (let’s hope that Higgins and Brown talk to them about a year ’round program). The new museum does not have a name yet. There will be overnight encampment programs and facilities for private parties in the new museum and on the Little Rock ship.”
For more information on the Naval Park, visit their website.