Brown and Turner urge National Park Service to buy Wright Factory buildings after fire



Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Mike Turner have written to the National Park Service, urging the service to buy part of the former Wright airplane factory site, which was significantly damaged in a March fire.

The letter asks the park service to fulfill its “statutory obligations” to buy two former Wright factory buildings between West Third Steet and U.S. 35.

“NPS has been under a statutory obligation to purchase these buildings since 2009, and in 2018, specific funds were appropriated to execute a purchase,” the letter says.

“To date the park service has yet to carry out its legal requirement to purchase the buildings,” the letter adds.

Turner’s Twitter account shows a copy of the letter, addressed to Charles Sams III, park service director, dated July 6.

A fire broke out at the Wright company airplane factory site in West Dayton on March 26 that caused significant damage to multiple hangar buildings. Aerial drone photographs showed collapse and severe damage to parts of the roofs of multiple buildings on the site.

Two of the buildings on the site were historic and housed the first airplane manufacturing facilities in the United States, which belonged to the Wright brothers.

The letter from Brown and Turner said both buildings are said to remain structurally sound.

“The ongoing five-year delay in purchasing the buildings is unacceptable,” the letter also says.

A spokesman for Brown’s office said the park service had not responded to the letter, as of Tuesday afternoon. A message seeking comment was sent to the park service Monday.

“I really don’t know,” Brown said Tuesday when asked why the park service has not bought the buildings though it has been required by law to do so since 2009. A spokesman for the senator later told the Dayton Daily News that was precisely the question Brown’s and Turner’s offices have for the park service.

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