What a year this was!
We were just as surprised as you were when back in January the City of Santa Monica settled their long standing lawsuit with the FAA! The City entered into a Consent Degree which NULLIFIED the FAA’s claim the airport remain open forever and gave the City the right to close the airport in 2029. It also gave us the right to reduce the length of the runway in the meantime.
The City moved quickly in February and voted to officially close the airport on January 1, 2029.
In March the City moved forward with the Airport Park’s 12 Acre Expansion Draft Environmental Study which is being designed by the Los Angeles architecture firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios which will include two playing fields, 60 community garden plots, a sports track, pickle ball courts and playgrounds. The city conducted open meetings and received pubic input on the Final Environmental Study.
In June the city relocated the airplane parking lot that was adjacent to Airport Park’s Dog Park and made it available for public use as an Interim Open Space for a wide range of unprogrammed recreational use until construction begins on the larger 12 acre Airport Park Expansion.
In December, the city moved forward to embark on the creation of a new Parks Master Plan which will for the first time include planning for the Great Park, now that there is a firm date for the airport’s closure.
Also in December the City closed SMO for ten days for construction in order to reduce the length of the runway from 4,973′ to 3,500′. This offered a number of safety improvements and moved the end of the runways 750′ away from people’s homes offering a reduction to exposure to jet noise and pollution. It created a new runway safety area where there previously was none and the shortened length will also exclude some of the larger jets from using the airport in the future. The City also moved to conduct an air pollution study during the closure and reopening.
The ten day closure also reminded people of how quiet and stress-free life can be without the ever present noise of airplanes and jets. This is how every day can be, once Santa Monica Airport closes and is replaced with a Great Park for everyone to use and enjoy.
There is still much to do.
We need to work with the City to ensure they quickly remove the excess asphalt and de-pave the ends of the shortened runway that is no longer needed, replacing it with native grass. We need to advocate that this newly available land be used as expanded open space that could provide new pedestrian and bicycle access around the airport.
We need to give input on pedestrian and bicycle improvements on Airport Avenue that would provide better access to the current Airport Park. We need to push for funding for the construction of the 12 acre Airport Park Expansion. We need to push for the city to begin final planning for the Great Park so that it is ready for construction for when the airport closes in 2029.
No one said this would be easy but this is our home and our city and we are committed for the long run and gratified by your support and the progress that we have made this year.
Great parks are like trees – they take time to grow!
Finally we need your continued support as an advocate, as a volunteer and as a donor. Hurry, your year-end tax-deductible donation can make this happen. Give today:http://airport2park.org/donate/
Enjoy the peace and quiet!