Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site Restoration
Contact: Deanna Mitchell, 334/724-0922
TUSKEGEE AIRMEN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT UPDATE –
“THINGS ARE MOVING AND SHAKING!”
The excitement is growing at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site because progress is being made and can be seen on the construction of the permanent historic site. Extensive planning and preparation have given way to actual construction and the preservation and rehabilitation of Moton Field is well underway. The National Park Service (Park Service) has dual responsibilities with this project – to see that it is successfully completed, and to keep the public abreast of the progression. Therefore, here is a glimpse of some of the actions on the horizon that are necessary to note and publicize.
The Park Service is extremely pleased to announce that Phase 1A construction of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site is in its final stage and should be completed within a matter of weeks. Phase 1A construction included removing vegetation, constructing parking lots and pedestrian walkways, widening roads and turns, and landscaping to create a promenade, memorial grounds, and a scenic overlook. The excitement does not stop at this!
We are also very thrilled to say that the contract for Phase 1B construction has been awarded to NationView/Bhate Environmental Associates, Inc., a Native American 8a certified firm, out of Birmingham, AL. The firm has over 10 years of experience in historic restoration and preservation in the federal sector as well as the private sector. When asked about receiving news that NationView/Bhate had been awarded the contract for the Moton Field project, Mr. David D. Martin, President of the firm, responded; “We were honored to have been selected to restore and renovate the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Upon its completion, not only will the site serve as a way for future generations to understand the historical significance of the training facility, it will also serve as a tribute for the sacrifice that the Tuskegee Airmen made for our country. Our goal in working on this project will be to both capture a historically accurate account of the site as well as provide a structure where visitors can learn about its past. We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with the Tuskegee community as we work on this very important piece of our history”.
NationView/Bhate has successfully completed similar construction projects, some of which were under construction concurrently, and are poised and ready to bring the same level of high-quality workmanship to the Moton Field project. Similar construction work refers to building system installations/upgrades, interior and exterior renovations, site work, landscaping, and site utilities. The following list includes just some of the projects that can be found in their portfolio:
● Hurricane Katrina Base Housing Renovations, Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS
● Historic Hugh Gainer House, Birmingham, AL
● Jasper Spec Building, Jasper, AL
● Department of Veteran’s Affairs Administration Building, Tuscaloosa, AL
● Ramsey Building, Birmingham, AL
● Building Demolition and Necessary Replacement Construction, Naval Air Station, Pensacola Cory Station, Saufley Field and Whiting Field, Pensacola, FL
● Historic Tom Read House, Birmingham, AL
● Zoe’s Retail Store, Birmingham, AL
● Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Plains, GA
NationView/Bhate has identified in their subcontracting plan their commitment to maximizing the use of local resources and local family business within the community of Tuskegee for employment opportunities associated with this project. “This type of outreach is so vital when it comes to this invigorating project and we at the Park Service look forward to working directly with the firm when they begin actual construction in December of this year”, says Deanna Mitchell, Site Manager, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.
In order for the community and people at large to understand how the different aspects of this huge project fit together, the Park Service is planning to host an Open House and two Public Town Hall Meetings over the next two months. These events are very important as they will allow a forum for members of the Park Service and members of the community and surrounding communities to discuss a variety of issues regarding the soon to be permanent historic site.
The first event, the Open House, is scheduled for Friday, October 27, from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm; and again on Saturday, October 28, from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (optional days). The location for the Open House will be the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site Temporary Visitor Center, at 1616 Chappie James Avenue, Tuskegee, AL 36083, with a transition to Hangar 1 for public viewing of several example museum exhibits for comment and a review of the museum layout for Hangar 1. From 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm each day, a panel of Park Service employees, as well as Col Herbert Carter, original Tuskegee Airmen and lifelong resident of Tuskegee, will host a Q & A session for visitors. Veronica Jackson of Jackson Design Group will be on hand to assist with any questions regarding exhibit design, and NationView/Bhate will also be present to meet and greet with members of the community.
Then, on November 29 and 30, the Park Service will host two Public Town Hall Meetings at the Alabama National Guard Armory (Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Armory), 1101 Chappie James Avenue, Tuskegee, AL 36083. Unlike the Open House, these public meetings will focus on preliminary alternatives gathered from input from public meetings that were held on this project in 2004. These alternatives, once presented, will determine the mapping and zoning of the site with emphasis on the types of visitor activities and facilities and development for each of the zones. Specific times for these meetings have not yet been established but will be forthcoming. Please refer to newspaper, radio, television, and flyers for further information on both of these important events.
As you can see, the Park Service is moving full throttle with the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site project. We know that the success of this project can only be achieved through a strong partnership between the Park Service, the Tuskegee Airmen, city officials, Tuskegee University, the State of Alabama, and the citizens of the fine city of Tuskegee. Without a doubt, we are on that trail. Let’s continue on this path of dialogue and sharing of information since it is perfectly clear that we truly want to keep “things moving and shaking”!
Did You Know?
Charles "Chief" Anderson taught primary flight trainig to cadets in both Tuskegee's Civilian Pilot Training Program and Tuskegee's (military) "experiment".