Vet Museum Asks for Help to Expand

11-10-05 - It's a special piece of history to Grayson County, and those who run the Perrin Air Force Base Museum want to see it grow. But that growth could cut into an already tight airport budget.

It may not look like much from the outside, but inside the museum one can find a treasure trove of history. Thursday morning, founders of the non-profit group presented an idea to the airport board of directors that would reduce rent for this land to just one dollar a year.

200 visitors a month are drawn into the scrap book of aviation. The museum built out-of-pocket by its dedicated founders who say it's something to remember.

"I think people in future generations will look back and they will know who their ancestors were and what we accomplished to bring them the freedom and liberties we all enjoy as Americans," Perrin Air Force Base Museum President Jim Farris said.

The land costs about $166 dollars a month in rent and goes into an already strapped airport budget. It costs Grayson County $400,000 a year to run the fire department out of the facility. With airport revenues and expenses just breaking even at $900,000, every little bit helps. Even the money from the museum rent.

Thursday morning, supporters gathered to present an idea to the airport board. A fine-print clause in the federal registry that allows non-profit aviation museums to pay just a dollar. They would take the $2,000 that would be paid in rent and put it towards expansion of the museum.

For the next month, a committee will discuss the pros and cons of waiving the rent lease.

"Our buildings out there at the airport - we get rent from those buildings and the museum is one of those buildings," Grayson County Commissioner David Whitlock said.

"This comes down, in the end, to a business decision that's best for both the museum and the airport," Grayson County Airport Board Chairman Phil Roether said.

If approved, commissioners believe that rent money would actually help bring in extra tourism dollars to the museum. The committee will meet again next Wednesday to discuss the idea of waiving the museum rent.