Funding comes through for massive Wright Brothers monument

Construction on a massive monument honoring Orville and Wilbur Wright is one step closer to starting.

Two philanthropic organizations — The Berry Family Foundation and the Kettering Fund — have made separate commitments to the support the Wright Image Group as they attempt to acquire additional land at the southwest corner of Interstates 70 and 75.

There, the group plans to construct The Triumph of Flight, a 270-foot monument that honors one of the world’s greatest achievements — the discovery of flight.

The monument would be just short of the Statue of Liberty. The Wright Image Group currently estimates the total cost of the project at $22 million, which includes $2 million operating and maintenance endowment.

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The Berry Foundation will fund the first year of a planned option-to-buy while the Kettering Fund will cover an environmental assessment of the site. The Wright Image Group said the iconic structure will be built where more than 65 million vehicles will pass each year.

Credit: charles caperton

Credit: charles caperton

“This monument will be visible from up to three miles away and will consist of 144-foot wingspan, glistening stainless steel facsimile of the Wright Flyer III resting atop a pedestal sheathed in backlit, woven stainless steel panels,” said chief architect Steve Brown, in a statement.

The Evolution of Flight Park at the base of the monument will include a reflecting pool, a large plaza imprinted with a world map, and an enclosed 10,000 square foot STEM learning and visitor’s center.

Construction would only begin once adequate funding is secured. The project would take about two years to complete, the group said. They are actively pursuing pledges from businesses, foundations and individuals donors.


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