The Commemorative Air Force reached an important milestone in the CAF National Airbase Project. On Monday, Nov. 3 we met with the City of Dallas economic development committee and discussed many of the details about our creating a World War II aviation attraction and CAF Headquarters at Dallas Executive Airport.
Since announcing that we selected Dallas as our location for the CAF National Airbase in April, our team has been working hard to make sure our transition to Dallas is a smooth landing. Some of our management staff, including Adam Smith and I, are already working out of Dallas. The rest of our management staff will be joining us next year.
We are meeting regularly with city officials, area residents and local companies to begin establishing relationships and laying the foundation for the CAF in the City of Dallas. In October, we held our first CAF WWII Air Expo at Dallas Executive Airport, which drew over 5,000 attendees and included an Education Day where hundreds of students came for a free tour of aircraft by CAF members and World War II Veterans.
The education day was strategic in establishing that the Commemorative Air Force is committed to education in a fun, unique way. As expected, the response was stellar. Brooke Syverson, a Dallas school teacher contacted the CAF to express her appreciation. She said “The enthusiasm of everyone involved at the CAF WWII Air Expo and the variety of information from history to aviation to military kept all of my students engaged. It was a wonderful ‘hands-on’ learning experience.”
We’ve also started working on a critical component of our project, fundraising. As part of the incentive to build in Dallas, the city council’s economic development committee has agreed to recommend final approval to City Council on the first part of $8.7 million in proposed financial support. (their vote will be November 12th) The second part including our Lease will be reviewed by this same committee on December 3rd. This money will be paid out over time and will be awarded based on our ability to raise matching funds, create local jobs and build a world-class aviation attraction. We are gearing up to begin our fund raising efforts in earnest this January, after we receive final approval from the Dallas City Council.
As you can see, we are fully committed to making Dallas Executive Airport the future home of the Commemorative Air Force National Air Base. And the City of Dallas is behind us too. The CAF’s headquarters at Dallas Executive Airport will infuse new life into the local community. The future aviation museum attraction will become a world-class tourist destination for our city. Not only will this be a wonderful tourist attraction, but it will be an opportunity to create more jobs, and be a true economic boost to the city over the next 20 years.