Long-envisioned aerospace museum lands lease at Felts Field
Airport board approved third of an acre location unanimously last weekSeptember 27th, 2012
The Spokane Airport Board has agreed to lease land at Felts Field Airport to the Armed Forces & Aerospace Museum as a potential site for the long-envisioned museum.
Larry Krauter, CEO for Spokane International Airport, says the three-year lease involves one-third of an acre along Rutter Avenue next to the Experimental Aircraft Association hangar.
Tobby Hatley, vice president for the museum board of directors, says, "This was the first time the organization was able to secure a lease for property."
Under the agreement, the museum will be able to renew the lease for two consecutive one-year periods, if necessary, once the initial three-year agreement expires. If the airport constructs a facility that would combine museum functions with a terminal, then the museum would move into that space, rather than have to build on the leased land, Airport Board documents say.
Hatley says museum advocates plan to begin a capital campaign at the beginning of next year to raise $6 million to get started with construction. If the airport board elects to build a facility that could accommodate the museum, he says, the funding from the capital campaign would be directed toward improvements of that space and would allow for several years of operating capital.
Along with the land-lease agreement, Hatley says the museum will undergo a name and logo change. Formerly known as the Armed Forces & Aerospace Museum, he says it will now be called Honor Point Military & Aerospace Museum.
The reason behind the name change was to make the name more inclusive toward all branches of service, he says, adding that Honor Point is about honoring veterans of all services, who have shown dedication throughout the years.
Hatley says once a facility is available, the goal will be to transfer ownership of a series of pieces called the Fairchild Heritage Collection that are currently housed at the Spokane Museum of Arts and Culture.
"We are proud to have provided an opportunity to meet a long-standing need to make a place where the military history of our community can be preserved and celebrated," Krauter says.
Hatley says three museum board members met with Krauter in July 2011 to discuss the possibility of finding space for the museum. He says the museum board originally was interested in space near Spokane International Airport that's not on airport land, until Felts Field was broached by Krauter as a possible location.
"We spent the next year coming up with and revising plans," he says. "The final lease itself didn't take long to negotiate."