FOLLOWING the success of the Warbirds Over Scone airshow in March which attracted some 6,000 people to Scone Airport, Scone will now boast a year-round attraction dedicated to vintage planes.
Upper Hunter MP Micheal Johnsen today announced the NSW Government is committing $6,256,904 through their Regional Growth - Environment and Tourism Fund to building the new Scone Aviation Visitor Attraction Centre.
A feasibility study announced in March explored the idea, which Mr Johnsen said produced some impressive results.
It’s now full speed ahead for the project with construction expected to commence within the next twelve months.
“This goes a long way to ensuring that we diversify the economy here in Scone and the Upper Hunter and build such a wonderful attraction that will literally attract tens of thousands of people every year,” Mr Johnsen said.
“The NSW Government is very pleased to announce that Upper Hunter Shire Council has been awarded the grant to go ahead and build the facility.
“In its first year we expect around about 26,000 people to come along and if you compare that with the same type of facility in Temora that attracts around 60,000 people a year, this is going to be a major boost to the economy of Scone and the Upper Hunter.”
Pay's Air Service’s Alex Pay said it’s a “big honour that somewhere like Scone is going to get a museum of this type”.
“We’ve had these Warbirds here for a long time but no one has really known about it,” he said.
“But this aviation museum is going to put Scone on the map and bring a lot of positive things to the community.
“All of the cafes will thrive and all the pubs and restaurants.
“Down in Temora they get up to 60,000 people a year and with the bypass people are starting to get a bit nervous, so it’s going to be good to have an attraction like this that’s going to bring people into the town.”
Upper Hunter Shire Council Mayor Wayne Bedggood said while concept plans are still being finalised, the facility is estimated to take two years to build.
“It will house between 10 to 12 vintage planes and we already have an onsite a vintage plane restoration business so it will compliment that,” he said.
“We also have half a dozen active Warbirds. People will be able to fly in those so that’s an added attraction.
“This goes a long way towards helping us keep our promise to the community about diversifying, growing and enhancing the business of the region and we certainly can’t thank the State Government enough for this funding.”
The facility will include interactive displays, space to house a café, a gift-shop and a function centre.