Future of U.S. Space & Rocket Center in jeopardy

Future of U.S. Space & Rocket Center in jeopardy

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville is in financial trouble.

Low attendance and canceled summer camps has Alabama’s number one tourist attraction in the red and unable to liftoff.

Leaders now need your help and they’re asking for you to make a donation.

A minimum of $1.5 million needs to be raised by October 2020.

Leaders at the Space & Rocket Center say they’ve already taken loans in order to keep the doors open from now until October.

The summer is usually when the Space & Rocket Center makes about half of its money for the year, but the past couple summer months, revenue has been way down due to COVID-19.

There are still people looking at exhibits and standing in line buying tickets, but to put it simply, there hasn’t been enough visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are cutting costs drastically. Sadly this means letting go of over 90% of our valued personnel,” said Alabama Space and Science Exhibit Commission Chairman John Nerger.

In order to keep the U.S. Space and Rocket Center doors open, a fundraising campaign called “Save Space Camp” was announced.

“Personally, I cant imagine a world where space camp and the us space and Rocket Center museum doesn’t exists,” said Chairman of the Education Foundation Ben Chandler.

Within the first hour of the announcement, more than $50,000 was raised. But it will take at least $1.5 million to keep the doors and exhibits open.

“If we are suspended and we close, then it would most likely be taken over by the state and then the state would have to work with us to try to figure out how to keep going,” said Executive Director Louie Rameriz.

The leaders who help run the Space & Rocket Center say if you call Alabama home, you don’t want the state to get involved in a takeover.

“This is what I have been calling the Statue of Liberty for Huntsville is ground zero. It seems to always culminate and center right here at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, because it’s a testament to what the community can produce,” said Chandler.

The weeklong space camps originally scheduled for the fall, are now canceled, starting in September.

The decision was made because of the lack of international students traveling to Huntsville and no field trips scheduled because of virtual learning.

If you want to donate to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, here’s the link.

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