When something has been in the making for so long, it is elating to be able to use the word "finished" in any capacity. To put a more realistic spin on this news, the Center is available for bookings as of March of 2008. If you are interested, by the way, call campaign headquarters Monday, Wednesday, or Friday morning, from 9 a.m. to noon to schedule your event. The number is (660) 886-2630. Beginning Monday, Dec. 3, headquarters will be open five mornings each week.
The museum portion of the building will take longer to bring to fruition. The anticipated opening for it is early summer of 2008. A committee has been hard at work planning the interior, the exhibits, and the interactive sections especially aimed at students. To that end, several of us have made the flight to Oshkosh, Wisc. to take a look at the EAA AirVenture Museum there.
Oshkosh, I learned, is the host to an international fly-in every summer. Thousands of people gather to share vintage planes, hear guest speakers such as Chuck Yeager, and celebrate flight.
The building is very impressive ... much larger than ours. However, we were able to go through slowly and methodically, photographing exhibits and taking notes on how their ideas could be adapted to our purposes. Of particular note was the young people's section, which was filled with interactive displays that demonstrated how the miracle of flight is possible, not only for man but for birds and insects, as well.
Vintage airplanes are always on display there, and from spring through fall patrons may purchase tickets to fly in them. I flew in a 1929 Ford tri-motor which was not only a thrill, but gave me a taste of the pure exhilaration the early aviators must have experienced. We, too, hope to have opportunities for patron flights in the future. In addition, we have acquired a Quonset hut which will be brought to the Nicholas-Beazley Museum to house a replica of the flying school here in Marshall.
I would like to use this column to introduce our Brick Campaign, in progress now. Through the purchase of a brick(s), individuals, groups, or businesses will be able to contribute to the completion of the site and to put their own personal stamp on the project for all time. The bricks will actually "Pave the Way" into the building, to be read and enjoyed by all who enter.
Two sizes of bricks are available for purchase. The smaller size is 4 inches by 8 inches, each of which holds three lines of print. The larger size brick is 8 inches by 8 inches, which allows for five lines of words.
The wording can be your personalized message or you may choose to use your brick to commemorate a special person or date in someone's life. A colorful, detailed brochure is available at campaign headquarters and you are invited to call the office for more information.
Your help is crucial at this stage of the game. The money raised now will be used for furniture and equipment for the community center. As has been stated from the beginning, this facility will be able to accommodate as many as 500 people in one group, or can be divided to entertain several groups simultaneously. The latest equipment will make the center suitable for even the most demanding technological uses.
Once again, we are excited to announce that the Community Center/Museum Project has been granted $500,000 in NAP credits. The credits allotted last year were used up, so it is a wonderful opportunity for you, the contributor, to be able to have access to them once again.
For those of you who are not familiar with NAP credits, I will attempt to explain them in very simple terms. A much more detailed explanation can be obtained by calling campaign headquarters, visiting with your tax advisor, or calling the Wilson-Toellner Agency for information.
NAP credits are issued by the state of Missouri to projects it deems capable of enriching individual communities. To be awarded the credits is truly an honor. These credits, in very basic terms, allow you, the taxpayer to designate where you would like for your tax dollars to be spent. They can actually stay in your community to benefit the citizens there. You must be willing to itemize your deductions. In the upper tax brackets, you can even save money by making a contribution in this way.
Please check into the NAP Program in depth to determine how it can enable you to contribute money you would pay in taxes anyway.
In conclusion, I speak for all of us involved with the Martin Community Center/Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum when I say we are both excited about the nearing completion of this addition to Marshall and grateful to all of you who have shown interest and helped in any way.
We continue to look for memorabilia, anecdotes from the past, and all other items that will enable us to present an accurate page from Marshall's history. We look forward to seeing the lights on in the building at the airport, cars in the lot, and people inside taking advantage of this wonderful facility. With your continued support, this vision will soon be a reality.