While there have been plenty of protests to shut down the Santa Monica Airport, a group of concerned residents has now come together to envision exactly what could stand in the airport’s place. In this case it’s a park.
The event has been in the planning for some time, and it's simply a coincidence that it occurs on the heels of the tragic crash at SMO on Sept. 29, but this latest incident has many of the pro-park people fired up.
Airport2Park.org, is a coalition of residents and groups formed to turn Santa Monica Airport into a park, that includes Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic (www.casmat.org), Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (www.jetairpollution.com), and Sunset Park Anti-Airport, Inc. (www.spaaresidents.org). It is helmed by Director Martin Rubin (C.R.A.A.P) and co-chairs Jonathan Stein (SPAA), John Fairweather (CASMAT) and Frank Gruber.
The coalition will sponsor a workshop entitled “From Airport to Park: Turning Santa Monica Airport into a Park for Everyone,” tonight, Oct. 3 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Mount Olive Church, 1343 Ocean Park Blvd.
“Airport2Park.org is a coalition uniting residents who want to seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a great park in place of the Santa Monica Airport,” said John Fairweather, chair of Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic (CASMAT).
In an official statement, the coalition noted that, “On April 30, 2013, the Santa Monica City Council directed city staff to investigate reclaiming from the airport the “Quitclaim Parcel,” which includes the western 2,000 feet of the airport’s 5,000-foot runway, after July 1, 2015, which is when the City’s 1984 agreement with the FAA expires. Council members expressed their desire to replace the Quitclaim Parcel with a park.
“Also on July 1, 2015, all leases to aviation tenants terminate, and in a very short time the airport might have a much shorter runway and no aviation services. Then it may be possible to close the entire airport and turn the whole runway and adjacent areas into parkland. When combined with adjacent Clover Park and the existing sports fields and dog-park at the airport, this would create the largest park in Santa Monica if not the entire Westside.”
According to Airport2Park, surveys support the view that the public wants to turn Santa Monica Airport into a park.
Airport2Park envisions a park with hiking, walking and biking trails, playgrounds for kids, activities for seniors, artworks and gardens, with the buildings on Airport Avenue being turned into arts and cultural facilities.
For more information, visit www.airport2park.org.
What do you think of Airport2Park's plan? Do you support it? Do you think it's a viable project? Tell us in the comments.