The Sedgwick County Commission voted Wednesday to contribute $200,000 to Doc’s Friends, which is working to build a home for the historic B-29 bomber.
The commission voted 4-1 to assist the ongoing project to build Doc a permanent hangar at Eisenhower National Airport. The $6.5 million project, which broke ground last fall, also will include an education center.
“Doc is a national treasure,” said commissioner David Dennis, an Air Force veteran. “Doc is really a critical part of our nation’s history.”
Dennis and commissioner Jim Howell said they hope the project will serve as an economic development opportunity by drawing tourists to Wichita.
“It is part of the fabric of our community, our state and our nation,” Howell said of the bomber, which was built in Wichita.
Commissioner Richard Ranzau voted against the contribution. He said he supports the project but thinks it should be funded privately, not by taxpayers.
“When things like this come before me, I have to ask the question: Can this and should this be funded by the private sector? And in this particular case the answer is yes,” Ranzau said.
Doc, a B-29 Superfortress, was built in 1945. The plane was rescued from a scrapyard and brought to Wichita in 2000. After years of restoration work, it flew again in 2016.
It is one of two airworthy B-29s in the country.
Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems and the city of Wichita already have contributed significant gifts to the project.
Tom Shine is the director of news and public affairs. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.
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