Panel To Discuss How To Turn SMO Into A Park

Organized and sponsored by the Airport2Park organization, the panel will be open to the public on Jan. 30, and will host four leading public finance and park development thinkers.

In its efforts to convert Santa Monica Airport into a park, the Airport2Park organization will host a panel on Thurs. Jan. 30 at the Santa Monica Library at 7 p.m. to brainstorm ideas on just how to do that.

Four leading thinkers in public finance and park development will discuss how the City can cover the costs of replacing the airport with a park. It will be be hosted by former Santa Monica mayor Michael Feinstein.

The panel will include Esther Feldman, president of Community Conservation Solutions, who has generated over $3 billion for parks, beaches, rivers, and urban recreation in Los Angeles County, and who launched a program that created a $35 billion fund for conservation projects nationwide.

Also on the panel will be Sherrill Kushner, who chaired the campaign that passed a Santa Monica library bond with 81 percent of the vote, former Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commissioner Neil Carrey, who’ll address the possibilities of philanthropic contributions to the park project, and David Goddard, chair of the Santa Monica Airport Commission, who’ll talk about how much revenue the city could realize by repurposing airport buildings now used for aviation purposes and re-leasing them at market rates.

“We are delighted at the quality and level of expertise of the people who have agreed to join the panel,” said Frank Gruber of Airport2Park, who will moderate the panel. “With their help we will get to grips with how to turn one of Santa Monica’s most valuable but under-used assets into something that benefits the whole community.”

According to Airport2Park, the city-owned and subsidized general aviation airport is conservatively valued at $2 billion, but is used by only a very few people who fly there.

The panel discussion, open to the public and entitled “Airport2Park, an Investment for the Future”, will take place Thursday evening, January 30th, in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Auditorium, at the Santa Monica Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica. Doors will open at 6.30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m.


Roy Roscoe January 27, 2014 at 01:09 AM
Parks are a dime a dozen. You have an Air Park! What the community needs is an annual air show like Sheboygan, WI. It's great for the local economy too!
Michael S January 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM
The airport loses money for the city of Santa Monica. http://www.smgov.net/Departments/Airport/Airport_Fund_-_5_Year_Analysis_of_Revenues_Expenditures_and_Capital_Expenses.aspx
Roy Roscoe January 27, 2014 at 01:17 PM
Turn it into a Park!!! Where people can come and watch the planes and small jets take off and land!!!! Everybody wins!
pilot_rick January 27, 2014 at 02:45 PM
Michael, the airport does cost money to operate however it does bring in over 200 million dollars a year to the community. I find it interesting that a NIMBY would point out this fact. Please show me a park that does not cost money to operate. Roy, there are already 2 great parks at the airport where you can watch planes take off and land! We are already winning.
Roy Roscoe January 27, 2014 at 04:12 PM
Imagine how many tourists an annual Santa Monica Vintage Air show would bring to the region! Bi- Wing craft and a flying military air show.... Hotels would be booked a year in advance. Viewers could sit in a newly constructed park and bleachers adjacent to the landing strip. Jean B and Michael S could sit in the park applying their sun screen, sipping propellor pours from the strip club and watching the acrobatic planes do tip rolls!


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