DAYTON, OH: A Dayton-area businessman is working to rally local community and business support for a monument to the Wright brothers. He contends that it would be a major PR tool to attract tourists and businesses to the area.
Walter Hoy, an engineer by training, wants to build a replica of a 1905 Wright brothers plane and put it at a major intersection. The airplane would have a wing-span of 125 feet, the distance the brothers flew in their first plane in 1903. It would be mounted about 100 feet off the ground.
Hoy and a group of like-minded people who have dubbed themselves The Wright Image Group have been speaking to business and community organizations to rally support.
This year, Dayton is planning events to commemorate the Wrights' first flight in 1903. The Wrights were from Dayton.
Hoy would like to see the plane erected next year to maintain the buzz about the area, as well as keep its connection to the Wrights in the news.
Dayton needs to address image problems of being a once-prosperous steel-industry town that no longer has that economic mainstay, Hoy contended.
He said he would like to see area PR efforts emphasize the inventiveness and innovation in Dayton's business history.
The monument is intended to become the symbol of Dayton as an innovation center, and Hoy hopes local businesses will include it on letterheads and other company materials. He also thinks it can serve as a symbol to attract tourists interested in historical events.
Hoy has already gotten some attention. The Dayton Business Journal ran a story on his efforts recently, and a local government official, Montgomery County Commissioner Charles Curran, is backing his efforts.