News

Anna Eshoo buys time for H1

There may be hope for Hangar One after all, city officials say, after Congresswoman Anna Eshoo negotiated with the Navy to delay plans to strip the structure for 30 days.

The Navy, NASA Ames and the city of Mountain View have been debating the future of Hangar One for years. But discussions were at a relative standstill over the past several weeks after Navy officials announced they had resolved once and for all to strip the historic structure's toxic siding away and leave a bare skeleton behind -- an option preservationists said would spell the end for the hangar. Before its discussions with Eshoo, the Navy reportedly was trying to enter into a contract by the end of the month to remove the siding.

Earlier this week, Eshoo sent out a press release saying that after meeting with Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, he had agreed to "delay any action for 30 days to determine a mutually acceptable solution for both NASA Ames and the city of Mountain View."

"Both the Secretary and the Undersecretary understand the history and significance of Hangar One and are willing to examine new avenues to facilitate its restoration and reuse," Eshoo said in the press release. "I am eager to move forward with NASA and the Navy so that together, we will find the right solution."

On Wednesday, city manager Kevin Duggan applauded the development, though he remained cautiously optimistic.

"We view the delay as good. But it is not a solution. What is critical now is that a solution needs to be reached," he said. "The patient is very much at risk."

Duggan, who calls the hangar an "iconic structure," said the city plans to join in the discussion and "will get more involved if a contact comes up."

The more delay the better, he added, because once arrangements are made for re-covering the hangar -- arrangements which have been elusive so far -- the whole process will be easier and less expensive if it's done right after the Navy removes the toxic siding.

Last month, Mountain View City Council members sent a letter to the Navy saying that "the skin should not be removed until a plan was in place to replace it," Duggan said.

"We were concerned," he said, that "when the Navy made a contract, we would be at a point of no return."

Navy and NASA Ames representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Others who have closely watched the debate over the hangar's fate also said they were happy with the Navy's decision to hold off for 30 days.

"It certainly looks encouraging," said Bob Moss, co-chair of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board.

NASA inherited Moffett Field from the Navy in 1993, but environmental cleanup of the site, including the hangar, is still the Navy's responsibility. The Navy put a protective coating on the hangar's outer panels after dangerous PCBs and other chemicals were found to be leaching from the siding. Although the coating has worked as a stopgap measure, experts say the hangar will eventually start releasing toxins once more.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill Hough
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2009 at 11:45 am

This is good news; any delay is good but ultimately the hangar needs to be repaired and brought up to code so that it can be re-used. It's a wonderful building.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm

The hangar is very cool, but sometimes you have to let the past go. All things must pass.

The Federal government is in deep financial crisis. Part of the reason for that is that everybody but everybody wants the government to provide funding for their pet cause. Let's either find private funding to preserve the hangar, or let it go.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I agree with private funding or let it go. All governments from City to Federal need to learn how to live within their budgets.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Segall
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm

This "let it go" sentiment seems penny wise and pound foolish to me. If your roof springs a leak, would you bulldoze it? Similarly, if the Feds have a building for which they (NASA) have a great use for and to build a new building for that purpose would be astronomically (no pun intended) expensive, why shouldn't the federal government pay to rehab the Hangar?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

That's the thing. Nobody has a good use for the building. Apparently, its not even useful anymore for its original purpose: Airship One is parked in a different hangar.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Segall
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 7, 2009 at 2:06 pm

"Nobody has a good use for the building. "

That contradicts what Lewis Braxton, deputy director of NASA Ames has said repeatedly in public meetings. He has refused to say specifically what use he has in mind for Hangar 1, but virtually without a doubt it is for a new fleet of airships, for which there is renewed interest.

"Apparently, its not even useful anymore for its original purpose: Airship One is parked in a different hangar."

That's kind of circular reasoning. The reason Airship One isn't in Hangar 1 is because no one is allowed in because of the contaminants in the siding. If the siding were replaced, it would be a fine home for Airship One, or for any of a number of uses other than airships.

Bottom line: NASA has made it clear they want to use the building, and they want it restored. Tearing it down is not a good use of our tax money.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by US Marine
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm

As much as some people think we should let the past go, Hangar One reminds those of us fighting overseas of home. The iconic structure can be seen from the freeway and many people take it's structure for granted. I myself miss driving home and seeing the hangar knowing i'm close to home. It's a reminder to many of home, and what we sacrifice our lives and time for by signing up for the Armed Forces. It should be restored, and stay in place for many more to observe.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm

"The Federal government is in deep financial crisis. Part of the reason for that is that everybody but everybody wants the government to provide funding for their pet cause. Let's either find private funding to preserve the hangar, or let it go"

So, by that line of thought, how long will it be before our President lives in the "Staples White House" or congress meets in the "Monster.com Capitol building"?


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