Anticipating the future closure of all or part of the Santa Monica Airport, Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, non-profit corporation, has been formed to advocate for building a great park on the airport land. The formation of the foundation comes after the November election when Santa Monica voters decisively rejected Measure D, an aviation industry initiative designed to stop any efforts to close or reduce flight operations at the airport, and overwhelmingly passed Measure LC, a measure that calls for replacing the airport with a park.
The president of the new foundation is Neil Carrey, who has long been a mainstay of the Santa Monica recreation and parks community, serving for 12 years on the Recreation and Parks Commission. Carrey was one of the leaders of the successful effort in the early 1990’s to turn non-aviation land at the airport into the current Airport Park after the City Council reversed plans for development there. The other members of the initial board of directors of the foundation are Michael Brodsky, John Fairweather, Frank Gruber, Cathy Larson, and Mike Salazar. These five, along with Carrey, served as the executive committee of Committee for Local Control of Santa Monica Airport Land, the organization that campaigned against Measure D and in favor of Measure LC.
“Now that the election is over, we can return to constructive efforts to build a park for the benefit of all,” said Carrey. “We have formed the foundation to be the catalyst for a citywide effort to turn the airport lands, as they become available, into a most wonderful park, one that will combine recreation, arts and culture with the restoration of natural habitat.” Carrey went on to say that, “The fact is that on July 1 of this year, when the City’s 1984 agreement with the FAA expires, the City will gain control of nearly 12 acres that currently serve aviation purposes. This land was classified in the 1984 Agreement as ‘non-aviation land,’ but has had to be used for aviation purposes because of other requirements in the 1984 agreement. Those requirements expire July 1, and we at the foundation will be advocating for the City to take immediate steps to make that land available for public use.”
Next steps for the foundation will be to form an advisory board and create committees to serve in such areas as community outreach, event planning, media relations and fund raising.