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National Corvette Museum Reflects on Progress One Year After Sinkhole

Kevin Willis

Staff members with the National Corvette Museum are celebrating the progress that’s been made one year after a sinkhole opened up beneath the facility.

Six of the eight vintage Corvettes that fell into the hole have been fully restored, with the remaining two still being worked on.

Meanwhile, reconstruction of the area where the sinkhole struck beneath the museum’s skydome is expected to be complete by mid-summer. Nearly 4,000 tons of crushed limestone have filled in the sinkhole. Zach Massey, an engineer with a Bowling Green-based construction firm leading the renovations, says it’s impossible to predict whether another sinkhole might hit the area.

“If it swallows the building, we can’t stop that. But there are some additional settlement and movement (where the sinkhole occurred) that we can anticipate. We know there are some loose rocks down there. We had some Ph.D’s go down there and map it, and had some professional geologists go in and take a look at it.”

Museum staffers reflected Thursday on how they found out about the natural disaster. Library and Archives Coordinator Betty Hardison remembered receiving a phone call at 2 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2014.

It was a security company telling her the burglar alarm inside the museum was going off.

“I just thought it was another false alarm,” Hardison said. “I’d been up here before at 2 in the morning, and it was for false alarms. You check everything out, turn around, and go home. That’s what I had planned on doing, but things didn’t work out like that.”

Following the age-old saying of “no publicity is bad publicity”, the Corvette Museum saw a record year in attendance last year following the sinkhole. Far from scaring away visitors, images of the skydome floor opening up and eight cars dropping into the earth generated unprecedented interest in the Warren County attraction.

One YouTube clip of the security footage showing the sinkhole opening up has been viewed nearly 8.5 million times.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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