UPDATED: National Corvette Museum Decides To Completely Fill Sinkhole

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) 8:50 PM -- Back in February, the ground opened and swallowed eight rare Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum.

Since then, the sinkhole has brought in people from all over, leading to gasps when they see it and the cars it destroyed.

"I'm amazed that we could actually get this close to it," said Maya DeRosa.

"Just mangled metal and a tire here and there. It's just crazy that falling through a hole like that would do that to a car," said Justin DeRosa.

When you look around, you see all the pointing and picture taking -- evidence of why traffic at the museum has increased.

"Brings tourism to the state, you know, brings money in, you know, people want to see it. I think it's pretty cool," said Kyle Newsome.

That's why officials considered keeping a portion of the hole open.

However, Saturday morning they decided it just wasn't feasible, with a price tag of one million dollars more than the cost of repairs.

"The renderings of what it would look like if we kept a smaller portion -- it was going to have 35-foot retaining walls and then steel beams running through it -- it just wasn't going to look like an original sinkhole anymore. So we thought it wouldn't be interesting or unique and not worth a million dollars," said Katie Frassinelli, the museum's spokesperson.

They have other ideas in mind to keep the story alive long after the sinkhole is filled.

"I think we'll still be able to create a unique exhibit that features some of the cars as is -- some of the cars after they were fixed. We do have some 3D imagery. We've talked about having an artist create 3D art on the floor that looks like the sinkhole looked," Frassinelli said.

Tourists have until November to see the hole as is before about six months of construction begins.

The sinkhole that has grabbed so much attention around the nation, will be filled at the National Corvette Museum.

The Board Of Directors at the museum made the decision at a quarterly meeting Saturday morning. They said after more research, the cost of keeping the sinkhole open would've been double the original figure.

“We really wanted to preserve a portion of the hole so that guests for years to come could see a little bit of what it was like, but after receiving more detailed pricing, the cost outweighs the benefit,” said Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode. “At the June board meeting, the information available at that time indicated a cost of around $500,000 more to keep the hole, but after incorporating additional safety features and vapor barriers for humidity control, the price tag rose to $1 million more than the cost to put the Skydome back how it was,” stated National Corvette Museum Director, Wendell Strode.

Keeping even a portion of the sinkhole would require 35 foot retaining walls to be built inside of the sinkhole, additional micro piling, visible steel beams running through the hole, and soil nailing. Those features would be needed to ensure the safety of visitors.

The museum said the board also considered future maintenance issues that could arise if the hole was kept along with the possibility that the pit wouldn't look like a naturally occurring sinkhole any longer.

“The interest in our new attraction has been phenomenal so we do plan to leave it ‘as-is’ through our Vets ‘n Vettes event November 6-8, 2014, after which time we will begin the process of re-mediating and filling the hole,” added Strode.

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