AIR TRAFFIC TOWER CLOSES
Damage from a panel of glass prompted the city to temporarily close the 1935 tower at the Kansas Aviation Museum.
The highest point in Sedgwick County that the average Wichitan has access to is off limits for now, and it may be for some time.
A panel of glass slid down in the frame of the tower at the Kansas Aviation Museum, which prompted the city to close the 1935 tower.
“Which, of course, is an unfortunate turn of events for everyone,” says Teresa Day, interim executive director of the museum.
The tower was the air traffic control tower of the former Wichita Municipal Airport – the city’s first commercial airport.
The ground it sits on helped make it the highest point in Sedgwick County until a new tower at McConnell Air Force Base next door surpassed it.
The museum tower is still the tallest one that nonmilitary people can visit, and Day says it’s one of the most popular features at the museum.
“We obviously are very anxious to get it fixed.”
John D’Angelo says the city is, too.
“The city will make the repairs,” says the manager of the Division of Arts & Cultural Services. “We recognize the importance of the tower, and we want to get it fixed.”
Initially, D’Angelo didn’t think the repairs would happen until as late as the second quarter of 2019.
Now, though, he says they’re underway and “should be complete after the first of the year.”
The cost is estimated to be $50,000.
In what Day calls “an overabundance of safety,” the city also has closed the area below the tower in case any glass falls. That happens to be the handicap entrance, so now the handicap parking has been relocated to a temporary space in the middle of the museum’s parking lot.
“It looks awful,” Day says.
Mostly, though, she says she and museum guests just want the tower back.
“Having our tower open is really a great thing.”
ACE IS THE PLACE
Last week, Have You Heard? reported that Greg and Sheila Paul are moving their Ace Hardware from in front of the former Wichita Mall to much-larger space near the corner of Harry and Woodlawn.
Greg Paul mentioned that their store is the last independent Ace store in the Wichita area.
To clarify, the Pauls have the last independent Ace in Wichita, but there are a few others in surrounding areas, such as Goddard, Maize and Augusta.
“We are still out here,” says Russ Lowen, who opened the Goddard Ace store in April 2017.
Not only that, he says, but he’s looking to expand with more stores and is already working with Ace to identify where makes sense.
“It’s a growing market, and there’s business opportunity, and we plan on being part of it.”
This 1945 photograph shows the air traffic control tower of the former Wichita Municipal Airport, which is now the Kansas Aviation Museum. A panel of glass slipped in the frame of the tower, which is now closed until it can be fixed.
The 1935 tower, pictured in 1945, is one of the most popular features at the museum. Wichita Municipal Airport was the city’s first commercial airport.