The Great Bend Municipal Airport is an important piece of our community’s history. Dating back to World War II, it was constructed in the early 1940s as an Army Air Force Base to train Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber crews.
The airfield included three intersecting 8,000-foot long paved runways, taxiways, aircraft park aprons, aircraft storage hangars, and several support facilities to include administrative buildings, barracks, and automobile access roads.
The men and women stationed there included combat crews, mechanics, armorers, cooks and clerks. So, the base was instrumental in the war effort.
However, the story doesn’t stop there. After the war, the facility was transformed from a military installation into the civilian airport we know today.
In addition, many of the folks stationed at the base stuck around. They forever transformed the city.
The B-29 Memorial Plaza at the entrance to the airport is dedicated to everyone involved in building, flying and providing support for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. And, marks an important turning point in Great Bend development.
The plaza was dedicated in 2000 and has seen some wear and tear over the years. But, that is about to change.
The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved spending up to $18,050 to restore the memorial. The city is splitting the cost with the B-29 Memorial Plaza Committee.
This is money well spent. The plaza has become an important landmark for veterans and other tourists and tells an important story.
It is worth maintaining.