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Cost, Aesthetics Lead To Decision To Fill In Corvette Museum Sinkhole

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio
Two Corvettes sit in the sinkhole in the Skydome portion of the museum before they were removed this spring.

More than six months after a 45-foot sinkhole swallowed eight classic cars at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the museum’s board of directors has decided the fate of the hole and the Corvettes that were rescued from its depths.

Earlier this summer, board members had strongly considered leaving part of the sinkhole intact and making it part of the museum experience.  But the estimated costs associated climbed to over a million dollars.

On Saturday morning, as thousands of Corvette fans buzzed around the museum, the board decided the sinkhole would be completely filled in a project set to begin this November.

“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit,” the museum’s executive director, Wendell Strode said in a written statement.
“After incorporating additional safety features and vapor barriers for humidity control, the price tag rose to $1 million more than the cost to put the Skydome back how it was.”

The museum also says 35-foot retaining walls would have to be built inside the sinkhole if it were preserved.

Joan Kaupp of Homosassa, Florida was in Bowling Green Saturday with a group of friends attending the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration

“Wonderful. That’s what it should be. Very good idea,” said Kaupp.

 Doug Graf of Tacoma, Washington also agreed with the decision.  

“It’s probably the safest thing to do and it gives them a lot more floor space to show the cars on,” said Graf.  “I think as long as they preserve it with pictures I’m sure they’ll have a display of it and they’ve got video and stuff so I’m sure it will be well preserved just like the cars are.”

Three of the cars that fell into the sinkhole February 12th will be restored including the “Blue Devil”, the 2009 Covette ZR1 prototype;  the one-millionth Corvette, a white 1992 convertible; and a 1962 Corvette. The remaining five will be left as-is and kept on permanent display.

Museum officials say attendance has spiked in the six months since the sinkhole opened up.

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