The U.S. Navy is feeling pressure to come up with the money needed to maintain a protective coating that was applied to the Mountain View Hangar One’s steel skeleton.
The Depression Era-structure, which is rather large, was stripped of its PCB-laced siding, the coating is supposed to seal in the toxins that are still there and guard against the elements while a restoration plan is being developed that includes the possible reuse of the structure.
The Navy hosted a public hearing in Mountain View open house-style to get feedback from the public regarding the proposed plan for ensuring the coating is maintained over a thirty year period. The advocates for restoring Hangar One were quick to point out that there was no specification as to which agency is to pay the approximate $6 million to maintain the coating.
Surface coatings in Minneapolis, throughout Minnesota, and all through the world are used to make surfaces safer to the environment so that people and animals are able to remain safe.
Initially, it was suggested that NASA bear the cost since it has been Moffett Field’s operator since 1994. However, NASA, the EPA, and the community feel that the Navy has the responsibility to pay. Even the community said that NASA needed to stay out of the matter since they didn’t create the problem. It wasn’t NASA that decided how the hangar was to be sealed when the siding was taken off; the Navy made the decision to strip the siding after it was discovered it contained PCBs, asbestos, and lead.
NASA also had something to say on the matter, stating that the Navy had incorrectly assumed that NASA would take over the maintenance and operation of Hangar One. There was never an agreement reached between the two.
Earlier this year, the U.S. General Services Administration and NASA issued a request for proposals from those qualified to restore Hangar One and reuse it. The bids are due in by September 30.
While the Navy received a majority of the criticism at the hearing, one resident blasted NASA from not accepting a Google offer to restore the structure in exchange for using it to park some of the company’s aircrafts.
The community, nonetheless, is in agreement that the hangar is not just another building, but a piece of history that is important to the area and the entire country. It is a piece that tells a story and that is why there is such a concern with its preservation.