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* Hampton City News

Posted on: September 29, 2020

City gets $707,000 grant for Air Power Park

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Sept. 30, 2020 - Hampton has received a $707,008 grant from the federal government that will be used for improvements needed at Air Power Park on Mercury Boulevard.

According to the application for the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program: "The project will resolve a long-standing and worsening drainage and shoreline erosion problem that impedes usage and improvements at Hampton’s Air Power Park. Time and changing sea levels have made community utilization of the Park challenging. Tidal flooding and freshwater pooling threatens the artifacts and make the grounds wet, soft, and muddy much of the year.”

The proposal describes the park and its displays as a "historic military asset, one of the most prominent connections for military families and their community in the region.” The site is operated by the Hampton History Museum.

According to project director Allen Hoilman, Hampton History Museum curator, “Air Power Park was established in October, 1963 (as Aerospace Park)  to be a tribute to Hampton’s Air and Space heritage and honoring the men and women of Langley Air Force Base and NASA Langley Research Center who crafted this heritage. In the decades since, the park has continued to offer a unique opportunity to show case numerous aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles that represent past and present accomplishments of Langley AFB and NASA Langley Research Center.  Today, thousands of visitors enjoy and learn from the exhibits each year.  The work accomplished with this grant’s funding will ensure its future and the continuation of the revitalization begun two years ago.”

The free, 15-acre park features several vintage aircraft and experimental space launch vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s, including jets, missiles, and rockets. Many of the displays have connections with nearby Langley Air Force Base and NASA Langley Research Center. The 1960s geodesic dome at the center of the park includes themed rooms with more than 325 models of aircraft, spacecraft, and nautical vessels representing all the U.S. branches of service and some other nations.

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