At midnight, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, after a five-hour public hearing, the Santa Monica City Council took decisive steps to turn 12 acres of land at the Santa Monica Airport currently being used for aircraft “tie-downs” into parkland. “This is the beginning,” said Neil Carrey, President of the Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation. “One day people will look back on this night as the moment when a noisy, dangerous, polluting airport began to be transformed into the wonderful green place that the people of Santa Monica need and deserve.”
The land becomes available for the City’s use on July 1, when requirements in a 1984 agreement between the City and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide tie-downs expire.
The 12 acres will nearly triple the size of the existing Airport Park, which itself was created in the 1990’s on land classified as “non-aviation land” in the 1984 Agreement. (See attached graphic.) The new park will be one of the largest in Santa Monica. In directing city staff to start the process for turning the land into public use, the City Council told staff that they expected the process to be completed in only two or three years. Council Member Gleam Davis emphasized that because the land may ultimately be part of a larger park at the airport, staff should not make plans for a final design, but should aim to deliver needed recreational fields to the public as soon as possible.
Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation was instrumental in bringing to the attention of city officials the possibility of turning the 12 acres into parkland. The new park will be the first tangible benefit of Measure LC, which Santa Monicans overwhelmingly passed in the November 2014 election. The City Council placed LC on the ballot to counter an aviation industry measure that would have maintained the status quo at the airport indefinitely. Measure LC requires that any land taken out of aviation use must be used for parks, recreation or cultural purposes.
Santa Monica Airport2Park Foundation issued this statement from its president, Neil Carrey: “It is well recognized in Santa Monica that we are in need of more parkland and especially more playing fields. The people voting for Measure LC expressed their strong desire for parks at Santa Monica Airport. We applaud the step taken by City Council to have staff start the planning process to create a park and playing fields on the 12 acres of non-aviation land at the airport.”