Yankee Air Museum still short on funds days before deadline to save part of bomber plant
Just days before its deadline, the Yankee Air Museum remains between $3.5 million and $4 million short of its $6 million fundraising goal that would go to save a portion of the historic Willow Run bomber plant.
The entire GM Powertrain facility is slated for demolition beginning in September, but the museum has been working to raise enough to save a section before the Aug. 1 deadline.
There has been some discussion between the museum and plant-owners RACER Trust about extending the deadline.
Taken by Ford Motor Company and property of Yankee Air Museum
Yankee Air Museum founder Dennis Norton declined to comment on the possibility aside from saying that talks with RACER “have been positive”. He said the museum is continuing discussions with potential donors and is aiming to meet the Thursday deadline.
“I’m still hopeful,” he said.
Bill Callen, a communications representative for RACER, said there hasn’t been a final decision but the Aug. 1 deadline still stands as of now.
Should the museum fail to reach its $6 million goal, the entire bomber plant will be razed with the rest of the 4.6 million-square-foot Powertrain facility.
The museum is highlights the historical significance of the building. The Willow Run plant rolled out more than 8,700 B-24 "Liberator" bombers in World War II that were instrumental in defeating Nazi Germany.
It was where “Rosie The Riveter” was employed, and, at its peak, the entire plant employed more than 40,000 people.
The museum’s goal is to save is 160,000 to 180,000 square feet of the original 3.5 million-square-foot bomber plant. That portion contains the two massive hangar doors where the new bomber planes rolled off the line and on to the tarmac.
The Yankee Air Museum has established a website and an aggressive campaign in the approximately three months it was given to raise the $6 million, including fliers, lawn signs and billboards drawn up with an image of "Rosie the Riveter" and the text “Save the bomber plant.”
Norton said fundraisers also continue to talk to large donors who will be key to saving the plant.