Officials at the National Corvette Museum have decided to delay reconstruction of the Skydome so visitors can see the sinkhole that opened February 12 and swallowed eight cars. Repairs will be delayed until after the museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, scheduled for August 27-30.
“We have about 6,500 Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world pre-registered for our event so far, and many of them have expressed an interest in seeing the damaged cars as well as the sinkhole,” said Katie Frassinelli, the museum’s marketing and communications manager.
“Determining the best method for repairing it and getting bids on the construction work has been a time-consuming process also. In the grand scheme of things, we felt it would be best to delay construction a few months to give all of our visitors the opportunity to see it.”
The sinkhole is 40 feet wide and some 60 feet deep.
Interest in seeing the abyss has increased attendance at the museum since February by 50 percent compared with the same period in 2013, the museum said.
“Many guests have expressed that while they came to see the sinkhole and damaged cars, they were pleasantly surprised by the rest of the facility and Corvette displays,” the museum said in a news release.
“Driving up I-65, I saw the sign for the museum and decided to make a stop but had fairly low expectations given it was a roadside attraction,” Mark Byrn of Orland, Florida, wrote in a Trip Advisor review. “I was pleasantly surprised by the facility; it was very modern, well-themed, professional staff, and it was much larger than I expected with a gift shop and restaurant.
They turned a negative into a positive by making the sinkhole into an attraction of sorts.”
— Mark Byrn
[/pullquote]”Even more impressive was the fact that the museum suffered extensive damage from a sinkhole, and they turned a negative into a positive by making the sinkhole into an attraction of sorts and displayed the Corvettes that were heavily damaged. Overall I was very happy to have made the stop.”
The museum and its contractors are considering several options for repairs, including keeping the entire sinkhole, leaving only a portion of the hole for future viewing, or restoring the Skydome to its pre-sinkhole condition. The museum’s board of directors meets June 25 to review proposals and options, including whether to restore all the damaged cars or to leave some of them as is to be part of the museum’s historical record.
Since opening, the museum has attracted 2,995,655 visitors as of May 31 and will award a special “Walk of Fame” sidewalk brick, a one-year membership and other goodies to the 3-millionth visitor.
Admission to the museum is $10 for adults with discounts for seniors and children, although only those ages 8 or older can enter the sinkhole-viewing area.