Friday, July 19, 2002

Aviation heritage area proposed by lawmakers

By The Associated Press

        DAYTON, Ohio - Members of Ohio's congressional delegation have taken a step toward honoring the state's aviation landmarks with a special national designation.

        Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, and Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, introduced companion bills Wednesday to create a National Aviation Heritage Area that would encompass historic aviation sites in Ohio.

        The legislation was recommended by the Dayton Aviation Heritage Commission, established by Congress in 1992 to coordinate public and private efforts to preserve historic resources associated with the Wright brothers and aviation.

        A heritage area, administered by the Interior Department, is a collection of sites linked by theme and geographic proximity, with the potential to promote tourism and improve preservation.

        The legislation would authorize $10 million over the next 15 years that would have to be matched with nonfederal funds. Sites included in the area would be eligible for historic preservation and educational and cultural funds.

        The sites would include the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, which contains a prairie once used by the Wright brothers to test and develop their planes.

        “This legislation would provide even greater support and public awareness of Ohio's many contributions to aviation history,” Mr. Hobson said.

        The heritage area also would include historic sites in Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Miami, Clark and Champaign counties. The Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta and the Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum in Millville, Ind., also would be included.

        Other sites could be added in the future, such as the Capt. Edward Rickenbacker National Historic Landmark in Columbus, NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the Rocket Engine Test Facility National Historic Landmark in Cleveland and the Zero Gravity Research Facility National Historic Landmark in Sandusky.


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