Today, Representatives Mike Turner (R-OH) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH), and U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), introduced legislation to extend the authorization for the National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) for seven years. The NAHA spans 54 acres and eight counties throughout western Ohio, with a large presence in Dayton, the home of the Wright Brothers. There are a variety of cultural sites within the NAHA, including the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, and Grimes Flying Field, as well as resources related to the Wright Brothers. As of April 2018, the National Aviation Heritage Area has more than two million visitors annually, generating $35 million in economic impact and supporting 1,500 jobs in the region.
“The National Aviation Heritage Area preserves and tells the story of Dayton’s monumental aviation history and achievements,” said Turner. “As the birthplace of aviation and home of the Wright Brothers, innovation and aviation are the heart of Dayton’s cultural identity. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to extend the authorization for NAHA for an additional seven years with Congresswoman Beatty and Senators Portman and Brown.”
“The National Aviation Heritage Area in Dayton is home to our nation’s aviation history and I am proud to introduce this legislation to help ensure it is preserved and enjoyed by future generations,” said Portman. “It tells the story of the Wright Brothers’ development of the first airplane, which has led to a strong aviation industry in the region today. This site is a public-private partnership that has also generated economic growth in the region. It supports 1,500 jobs and generates $35 million in economic impact from the more than two million visitors per year. I look forward to working with Senator Brown, Congressman Turner, and Congresswoman Beatty to build support amongst our colleagues to pass this important legislation.”
“The pioneering spirit of Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Wright Brothers is reflected today in Dayton’s National Aviation Heritage Area. It’s a privilege to represent a state with such important historical significance, and I’m proud to stand with Congresswoman Beatty, Congressman Turner and Senator Portman in our effort to extend the National Aviation Heritage Area’s authorization,” said Brown.
“Central Ohio is the birthplace of aviation and home to many nationally important landmarks. I believe Congress has a responsibility to preserve the rich legacy of the Wright Brothers, Air Force, and Neil Armstrong, as well as poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, for generations to come. That is why I am proud to join in the bipartisan effort to reauthorize the National Aviation Heritage Area with Congressman Mike Turner and Senators Brown and Portman,” said Beatty.
“The National Aviation Heritage Area embraces nationally important sites ranging from the city where the Wright brothers lived and invented the airplane to the hometown of Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong. National Heritage Area status signals America’s pride in its aviation accomplishments and bolsters our efforts to share its stories with the world,” said Ted Prasse, chair, National Aviation Heritage Alliance.
“The National Heritage Area designation has put a spotlight on the Dayton region’s historic aviation heritage and increased tourism in the area. It is a success that should be continued to promote economic development and job creation,” said Jeff Hoagland, President & CEO, Dayton Development Coalition.
NOTE: In 2004, Congress created the NAHA in Dayton in the 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-447). That legislation included a sunset provision that terminated federal funding for the NAHA after 15 years. This legislation would ensure seven years of additional funding.