Connecticut Air & Space Center’s Curtiss Hangar Restoration Project has made significant progress since signing the Lease with the City of Bridgeport to restore and occupy the historic hanger approximately a year ago. The State of Connecticut has confirmed its agreement to CASC’s request that the original State funds grant awarded over a decade ago be “re-purposed” to the restoration of the Curtiss Hangar. CASC has also been able to obtain from the State a general waiver of certain coastal floodplain requirements which could have made the Restoration Project financially unfeasible. Similarly, CASC has been able to obtain from the State historic preservation authorities authorization to make use of modern and environmentally “green” materials in connection with the restoration rather than compelling the use of 1920’s materials as originally used in the construction of the Hangar. Requisite environmental sampling and testing of the Hangar site has been completed and the analysis has determined no adverse environmental conditions at the site.
The City of Bridgeport has generously agreed to provide substantial “in-kind” assistance to CASC during both the restoration and CASC’s subsequent occupation of the Hangar throughout the term of the Lease, a contribution considerably positively impacting the financial feasibility of the Project. Additionally, the City has made a substantial financial contribution to the Project in connection with the restored Hangar being the new, environmentally-protected home of the City’s FG-1D Corsair aircraft, the official State of Connecticut airplane. The fact that the Corsair was designed and manufactured in what is now termed the “Stratford Army Engine Plant” on Main Street in the Town and tested and flown from the City’s now termed “Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport” from the Curtiss Hangar and its adjacent historic counterpart “Blue Sky Hangar” makes CASC’s Curtiss Hangar Restoration Project a unique opportunity to preserve Connecticut’s and the world’s aviation history.
The Town of Stratford has not only generously made a substantial financial Block Grant contribution to the Project but also tasked its government finance and building projects experts with lending to CASC their considerable expertise in the selection of qualified architects, engineers and historic restoration specialists. Together with the Town experts, the Project Team has interviewed and evaluated such qualified firms and Invitations to Bid will be issued shortly in anticipation of structure assessment, remediation and preservation work beginning relatively near term.