Wednesday evening, Feb. 28, the City of Santa Monica’s City Council took decisive action that will allow planning to begin on a great public park to replace the Santa Monica Airport. Using the authority the City gained under the historic January agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow the closure of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) no later than midnight, Dec. 31, 2028, and the immediate shortening of the SMO runway to 3500 feet, a unanimous City Council (i) directed City staff to take all actions to ensure that SMO will close Dec. 31, 2018, (ii) directed staff to give the FAA the required 30-day notice that the City would promptly shorten the runway, and (iii) used an expedited process to award a contract to engineering firm AECON/Aeroplex to design the shortening of the runway so that construction can take place beginning in October 2017.
The Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation commends the City Council for taking these actions. Foundation representatives spoke at the hearing to express this support, and to emphasize that the City should shorten the runway by returning 1500 feet of concrete to soil. The Foundation believes that once there are buffers between the runway and the eastern and western borders of the airport, hiking and cycling trails can go around the runway and connect with Airport Park, which the City is already expanding onto land once used to park airplanes.
“We at the Foundation applaud these first steps in taking control of the airport land. Once the immediate issue of shortening the runway has been taken care of, we look forward to the City’s commencement of planning for the great park itself,” said Neil Carrey, President of the A2P Foundation.
For the thinking behind the potential phase-2 ‘great park’ park layout image above see here.