I’m out of town on vacation and so I’m going to miss the happy event, but a momentous occasion will be celebrated tomorrow, July 1, in Santa Monica, namely the beginning of the creation of a great park on the site of Santa Monica Airport. Today, June 30, 2015, is the termination date of the 1984 Settlement Agreement between the City of Santa Monica and the Federal Aviation Administration. While by all rights the City should be able to close the airport tomorrow, July 1, administrative proceedings and the course of the City’s litigation to establish its right are holding up that inevitable eventuality. However, the 1984 Agreement contained provisions (namely requirements to provide aircraft tie-downs) that unquestionably expire today and the expiration of those requirements frees up for City use about 12 acres of land south of the runway and north of Airport Avenue (in two parcels more or less straddling the existing Airport Park).
Under Measure LC passed by Santa Monica voters last November all land released from aviation use must be used for park and recreation purposes unless voters approve something different. The City Council has duly designated these 12 acres to be turned into a park, and the budget the council recently passed includes funds for an expedited process to plan the conversion of the land (now covered in asphalt) into parkland. These 12 acres will be the first of 170 or so acres of park that the City will ultimately create from the airport land.
With antecedents in the campaign to pass LC (and defeat the aviation industry’s Measure D), a new 501(c)(3) non-profit has been formed, the Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation, to organize public support for the park conversion. The foundation is hosting a barbecue tomorrow at Airport Park, on land adjacent to the one of the new park parcels, and the public is invited. To view the invitation, and to RSVP, click here. (If you plan to attend, be sure to RSVP so that the organizers know how much food to get.)
Wishing I could be there! (But nonetheless enjoying where I am.)
Thanks for reading.