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National Corvette Museum votes to preserve sinkhole


The people behind the National Corvette Museum really know how to turn lemons into lemonade. In February, a 40-feet wide by 60-feet deep sinkhole opened up in the middle of the museum's Skydome, eating eight rare 'Vettes on display.

But the folks in Bowling Green, KY, are turning the tragedy into opportunity. The natural disaster has turned into a major attendance windfall for the museum, pulling in record crowds. And now, as previously hinted at, the museum's board has officially voted for new plans to keep the crater in place in modified form – even displaying cars in it. The museum's board felt that it had three options available: completely repair the sinkhole, leave it as-is or modify it slightly to be somewhat smaller. In a vote, the members decided on the third option, which would reduce the cavity's size to 25-feet by 45-feet wide and 30-feet deep. That might be further modified after studies into how having an open hole in the Skydome will affect the humidity and heating costs. Regardless, the hope is to leave enough room to display two Corvette models down there, possibly the ones most badly damaged in the collapse. "We have to look at creative ways to generate interest in the Museum. It would be so much easier to just be a regular automotive museum with our Corvettes on display, but we have to think outside the box," said Executive Director Wendell Strode in the museum's statement. After the initial shock of the sinkhole subsided, the museum's administrators realized that the giant crater might turn out to be one of the best things to ever happen to the institution. Since the catastrophe, attendance has shot up 59 percent compared to last year, with increased revenue at its gift shop and restaurant, as well. It has become a real tourist attraction. Of course, going with the option of a reduced-size sinkhole always leaves the door open to fill it in completely, notes Christy Thomas, the museum's chief financial officer. "If the interest in the exhibit wanes, or if down the road we decided that we don't want the hole any longer there is always an option to put the room back how it was," she says. If you want to see the original 60-feet-deep hole in all its glory, then don't worry. The museum is leaving it open until construction begins on the modifications, which are scheduled for September.

Source, original post: Auto Blog

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