The Kansas Aviation Museum is getting $50,000 from Sedgwick County. Most of the money will go to the restoration of a B-52 bomber damaged in a storm a few years ago.
The museum plans to seek $50,000 a year from the county for a total of $250,000 over five years. The commission voted 3-2 to approve the $50,000 grant for this year.
Commissioner Dave Unruh and Commissioner Richard Ranzau voted no on the museum’s funding request.
“The city of Wichita owns the building and they are the responsible party for the operation, ultimately,” Unruh said.
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The Kansas Aviation Museum has received funding from the city every year since 2006, including $34,259 this year. In addition, the city of Wichita gave the museum $700,000 in 2014 to pay for building renovations.
Teresa Day, representing the museum, said the majority of the county money will go to restore a B-52 bomber that was damaged by a storm two years ago.
“Because it sits outside in the Kansas weather, that damage is just continuing to worsen,” Day said. “It is a timing issue. It needs to be stopped now.”
Some of the money will be used to improve signage at the museum’s entrance, distinguishing it from nearby McConnell Air Force Base.
County Commission Chair David Dennis said the planes on display at the museum are an important part of Wichita’s history.
“The B-52 is something that we will never be able to replace,” Dennis said.
“It was built here in Wichita by the employees at Boeing and it’s part of our heritage,” he said.
“We’re doing this to preserve the history of Wichita.”