In the months following our last Board meeting (Myrtle Beach, Feb. 23–25), the Museum has seen more activity and forward movement toward our ultimate goal than the previous forty-five years I’ve served on the Museum Board. And to think all of the following was accomplished during a pandemic with many restrictions—a testament to the commitment of this Board and staff!
Museum representatives visited seven potential sites in Central Florida and retained a real estate broker and attorney with expertise in that region of the country. We engaged the services of a land engineer as well as Boston-based ConsultEcon to conduct a feasibility study for potential Museum locations. Based on a number of considerations, one property was identified and a non-binding letter of intent was executed to secure due-diligence rights to the property, to include a refundable deposit. A geotechnical (soil) investigation was commissioned to confirm bearing capacity of soils and acceptable depth of the water table. A detailed physical survey of the site was completed and confirmed compliance with existing zoning laws as well as compliance with the Development Agency design and use guidelines. We participated in a County Planning Department public pre-application meeting attended by 29 people. An environmental review was commissioned to look for issues related to previous uses, soil or water contamination, cultural resources, wetlands and listed species. The availability of utilities at the site was confirmed, and planned projects around and near the site were researched. A traffic impact study from the master developer was accessed, saving us the cost of commissioning our own study. We confirmed acceptability of our site plan and use (28 versions before arriving at the current concept) with the director of the Development Agency. The Board then commissioned an appraisal of our Fredericksburg property and continued ongoing discussions with both a wing suit (horizontal) wind tunnel operator as well as vertical tunnel operators to join the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame to create a true SkydiveXperience™!
And finally, on July 30, the Board of Trustees of the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame voted unanimously to move forward to purchase a highly desirable site for the facility. The property is a high-traffic location in central Florida within the Orlando tourist corridor near many world-renowned attractions.
The Board is excited and pleased to have kept this vital project moving forward during the current global challenges. A lot happening—exciting . . . stay tuned!