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A coalition of Santa Monica residents and groups hopes Santa Monica Airport’s future is the same as Meigs Field Airport in Chicago. This single strip airport operated from December 1948 until March 2003 until it was closed and a park created after the Chicago Park District refused to renew the airport lease.
Images courtesy of airport2park.org
A coalition of Santa Monica residents and groups hopes Santa Monica Airport’s future is the same as Meigs Field Airport in Chicago. This single strip airport operated from December 1948 until March 2003 until it was closed and a park created after the Chicago Park District refused to renew the airport lease.

News, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Airport

Airport2Park To Discuss Turning Santa Monica Airport Into A Park At Workshop

Posted Oct. 3, 2013, 8:36 am

Mirror Staff

Airport2Park.org will hold a free and open to the public workshop tonight, Oct. 3 from 6-9 pm to discuss the benefits of turning Santa Monica Airport into a park.

The workshop will be held at the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, which is located at 14th and Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica.

Organizers said the workshop would envision what a park could be and what it could mean to the community.

The workshop will feature an illustrated talk from noted landscape architect and parks designer Mark Rios, who recently was the designer of the award-winning Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles and who has worked extensively in Santa Monica.

After the talk, attendees at the workshop will break into groups to brainstorm over ideas for what features a park at the Santa Monica Airport site might contain.

The Sierra Club has announced its support of the efforts of Airport2Park.org, to turn Santa Monica Airport (SMO) into a great park.

In a letter to the Airport2Park coalition, David A. Haake, M.D., Chairman of the West Los Angeles group of the Sierra Club said, “The Sierra Club believes that the replacement of SMO with a great park including land for hiking and restoration of native species would not only address public health needs, but would also offer very much needed open space to the west-side of Los Angeles and Santa Monica area.”

Dr. Haake went on to write that, “The Sierra Club strongly supports the ‘Airport to Park’ effort and urges the City of Santa Monica, the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, California State, and Federal legislatures as well as all appropriate Federal agencies and administrations to work toward that end.”

In response, Airport2Park.org released this statement: “We are pleased to receive this endorsement from the Sierra Club in support of our efforts to turn the airport into a park. In the future we expect to receive more endorsements from environmental groups, but given the Sierra Club’s stature in the environmental movement, we are honored that this our first environmental endorsement.”

On April 30, 2013, the Santa Monica City Council directed city staff to investigate reclaiming from the airport the “Quitclaim Parcel,” which includes the western 2,000 feet of the airport’s 5,000-foot runway, after July 1, 2015, which is when the City’s 1984 agreement with the FAA expires.

Council members expressed their desire to replace the Quitclaim Parcel with a park. Also on July 1, 2015, all leases to aviation tenants terminate, and in a very short time the airport might have a much shorter runway and no aviation services. Then it may be possible to close the entire airport and turn the whole runway and adjacent areas into parkland.

When combined with adjacent Clover Park and the existing sports fields and dog-park at the airport, this would create the largest park in Santa Monica if not the entire Westside.

Airport2Park.org is a coalition of residents that includes Community Against Santa Monica Airport Traffic (www.casmat.org), Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution (www.jetairpollution.com), and Sunset Park Anti-Airport, Inc. (www.spaaresidents.org).

For more information about tonight's workshop, visit www.airport2park.org.

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Comments

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:03:35 am

Truth said...

Let's all live in fairy tale world where the rivers are soda pop and the trees are candy! Santa Monica is pro real estate development. There is zero chance that airport will become a park. Screen shot this message because my proficy will come true.

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:09:47 am

Belinda said...

This is exactly what we need and the perfect solution. Let's prove the naysayers wrong!

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:13:50 am

Larry said...

They're using the illegal closing of Chicago Meigs as an example! At the time, Mayor Daley was charged with a crime for bulldozing the runway in the middle of the night and stranding several planes. Those who wish to force their agenda on us a just like the GOP. Hostage takers!

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:15:17 am

Cindy said...

Astro turf organization funded by big real estate developers.

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:19:08 am

Karen B. said...

Let me say I'm not a pilot and don't know much about the airport. .I met one of the reps from airport2park at the SMO open house a week or so back. He was defensive and rude to my family. By contrast the pilots went out of their way to make sure my family had a good time. Just an observation.

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:22:12 am

Nate said...

I'd love a park BUT I also see all of the development going on in Santa Monica. I don't think there is any way the city council is going to allow the airport to become anything more than more high rise condos and trendy shops. There's too much money to allow that to happen. That land must be worth 100s of millions.

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:24:26 am

Brad Norton said...

Can you use the park as an emergency runway when the big one hits and the west side is cut off from disaster aid?

Oct. 3, 2013, 9:25:35 am

Enough said...

Why do I get the feeling we're negotiating with terrorists when dealing with these anti airport groups?

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:13:30 am

john catoe said...

I'm pro business , an owner of a small firm and a 16 year resident of Santa Monica. I support development when it meets the needs and desires of residents, When I think of the best use of the airport, I think of what will serve the greatest number of people in the best possible way. For me it's a park.

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:16:47 am

don said...

Excellent Idea! A park in place of Santa Monica Airport makes perfect sense. It is healthy, sustainable as well as economical. It will serve everyone instead of just a privileged few. With the issues of global warming confronting us all we don't need to subsidize private jets that most will never use. A park is for everyone! It is a perfect fit for Santa Monica.

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:09:50 am

Jerry Rubin said...

Why do I feel those people who have no real argument against closing the airport and using it for park space must be cowards by instead calling the anti-airport people terrorists?

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:40:56 am

rosario perry said...

From empty land many years ago in the early 1920's; to an airport as of today; to a small park tomorrow; to a high rise congested commercial development brought to you by SMRR, in the near future. Or does the Federal Government simply condemn it, and create its own facility? Out SMRRing SMRR itself.

Oct. 3, 2013, 12:29:40 pm

Mary said...

The Santa Monica Airport needs to be there! It was there way before any houses were built. When expanding LAX years ago they eliminated hundreds of homes in Playa del Rey. Why did the city of Santa Monica allow homes to be built so close to the airport? I know that this topic has escalated because of the recent tragedy at the Airport. My firm belief is that Mark Benjamin, a remarkable human being, saved many lives that day by veering into the hangars. Maybe jets should be banned, however, the airport should definitely stay open.

Oct. 3, 2013, 3:33:38 pm

Peter Hartmann said...

Havnt you Santa Monicans had enough of horrible crashes? Just the other night still another one. And all that pollution. I am afraid to walk on the streets of Santa Monica and Venice without one of these crazy private car drivers running me over. The mufflers on their cars have all manner of poisons in them, that get particulate matter into the atmosphere. Why cant these private car drivers take the bus? I say there is a lot of wasted space out there that has been asphalted over, to the benefit of those private car owners, that could be turned into something useful. Time we banned those nasy private car drivers - each year they kill too many people in this area.

Oct. 3, 2013, 4:44:15 pm

Nathan said...

Jerry Rubin always has to stick his nose in everything. Jerry doesn't even live in Santa Monica but he sure like to tell us how to live. No one elected you to the council so please knock it off.

Oct. 3, 2013, 4:45:12 pm

Donnie said...

There was a terrible crash on the 10 about two weeks ago and a kid burned to death. I think we should close the 10 freeway immediately.

Oct. 3, 2013, 4:47:20 pm

It's all a sham said...

If you don't like living in a congested, polluted, urban environment then why do you stay in one of the largest, most polluted and congested urban environments? If you REALLY felt that unsafe you'd be headed for the someplace safer. I think it's more likely you have a financial interest in the airport closing.

Oct. 3, 2013, 4:52:05 pm

Pro businessman said...

I'm a pro businessman too. I also want to do what's best for the most people. On the airport land, we could build 1000+ units for people to live in, complete with a grocery store, movie theaters, shops and restaurants all walking distance from home. That's environmentally friendly. The neighborhood benefits from these conveniences as well as a bump in property values. Millions of revenue and taxes will be generated and jobs will be created. Let's close the airport and do what's right for everyone. Build something!

Oct. 3, 2013, 4:54:49 pm

Truth hurtz said...

Turn it into a mall or a park but guess what? There will still be hundreds of airplane flying over your head. LAX traffic, police and emergency choppers, military, news media, rich guys with flying toys and even student pilots. You can't create a no-fly zone over Santa Monica. Sorry NIMBYs, I know you want one.

Oct. 3, 2013, 4:57:08 pm

Janice said...

Somewhere a group of anti airport goons are happy that some family lost loved ones so they can move forward with their agenda. They're showing how crass the really are right now.

Oct. 3, 2013, 5:37:47 pm

LMR said...

People fear what they don't understand. The aviation community needs to band together and demonstrate why the airport is important for everyone (not just the wealthy) and the truth about the noise and environmental concerns that have been blown way out of proportion. Basically the pilots need to get just as organized as the real estate guys have with their astro turf groups disguised as concerned citizens.

Oct. 3, 2013, 5:51:22 pm

737 Pilot said...

Where is the outrage for LAX or other airports? As an airline pilot, I'd like to put all of the anti airport people on a "no fly" list so they can't be called hypocrites.

Oct. 3, 2013, 5:53:22 pm

Problem solved said...

Buy all of the houses near the runway at a fair market value, using imminent domain laws if necessary - then bulldoze them to create a safety buffer for the airport that can double as a park. Everyone wins!

Oct. 3, 2013, 7:03:05 pm

Damon said...

The airport has been there longer than most residents. Why move next to an airport. It's vital to the community and So Cal.

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:22:29 pm

Jerry D said...

Yes! A Grand park makes so much sense in this " green city". Times change and old train stations, military bases, and city dumps are converted into awesome parks world wide. This is recycling at its best. The fear that a huge real estate development will be built are just naysayer tactics. The time is now to make this a fantastic park for ALL to enjoy. Not just the out of town Jet setter few.

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:43:05 pm

Unicons Don't Exist said...

Naysayer tactics? What world do you live in because it certainly isn't Santa Monica. We have one of the most pro-big business, pro-developer city councils in the nation. Look around at all of the huge construction going on. Do you think big business is going to let this mega million dollar opportunity pass them by so you can have a giant bike path? America always goes with the money and the money wants the land so they're going to get it. Sorry grass and trees lose, skyscrapers win.

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:49:32 pm

Businessman said...

All of this talk of jet setters and rich people. Who in the heck do you think lives and works in Santa Monica! Jesus people, Santa Monica is one of the richest zip codes in the world. Those jet setters pay for your pretty little city and bring thousands of jobs too. Hopefully when they move their jets over to the valley, they take their offices, 1000s of jobs and tax money with them. You asked for it!

Oct. 3, 2013, 10:55:13 pm

Independent said...

These anti airport people remind me a lot of the tea party. A very small minority with a lot of big business funding gains a loud voice by spreading misinformation and making promises of a utopia that will certainly be a bait and switch. It's like Republican strategists preying on people with green-liberal views but the liberals don't understand they're just pawns being used and lied to. They're so naive.

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:02:31 pm

Too many homeless said...

Another park is just a place for vagrants to sleep like dog piles in the grass. Then you practically get accosted for change and have to smell their urine. I can't go to any Santa Monica parks or the beach and not run into many homeless. Perhaps the best solution is to make those big airport hangers into homeless shelters.

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:11:34 pm

Not my money said...

Ok, so close the airport and build a park. Someone will have to clean up fuel tanks, knock down hangers, get rid of runways/taxiways, etc. It will costs tens of millions to complete the job. Who's paying for that...all of us? F- you. I don't care about the airport but I don't want to pay for a park. Maybe all you whiners should pay for it yourselves since you're the ones who want it so bad. Just like you say the airport serves the few I also say a park serves only the few nearby neighbors. Stop trying to obligate all Santa Monicans for your own gain.

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:16:25 pm

High and mighty said...

High and Mighty Moral Guardians using an argument to create a moral panic — doing something will somehow, indirectly, hurt children. Somehow. You don't have to make a rational argument as long as you appeal to mama bears, crusading parents, and paranoid fathers emotionally. This is a great way to rouse up an Angry Mob. Enter: the Anti-airport Groups sponsored by Big Development.

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:20:17 pm

greg said...

it is very easy for media and politicians to play the "it hurts kids" argument to get a law passed, regardless of whether the law is good or effective.

Oct. 3, 2013, 11:43:29 pm

You Sickos said...

4 dear souls lost their lives and the anti airport crowd couldn't be happier. Just take a moment to read their blogs or Google their names. In less than a week they're media saturated with the news of this crash. They make me sick to my stomach. Regardless of the outcome of the airport debate, I will forever see these anti airport people for who they truly are: Selfish sickos with no regard for anyone but themselves.

Oct. 5, 2013, 8:48:24 am

Ana said...

To all who are pro-airport: Try and imagine what it's like to be in one of those houses on the West side of the runway into which that plane could've crashed. No one is trying to create a no-fly zone over SM, but I think it's good to question as to what is the actual purpose of SMO? Is it really needed in our community? Most people who live in this area DON'T own private jets.

Oct. 5, 2013, 10:56:19 am

Unbiased said...

Ana, no one living in any of those houses was misled to believe there wasn't an airport there when they purchased their houses. The airport has been there since the 1930s. Yes times have changed but even tiny little midwest towns recognize the value of a local airport. See next post:

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:04:24 am

Unbiased said...

I won't get into the facts but everything concerning the airport has been grossly misrepresented by parties that have an interest in closing it. The loudest voice comes from real estate developers who want the land for development. A park would be nice but a parcel of land worth that much is not going down without a fight by some very wealthy entities. They are using the neighbors as pawns by scaring them and leading them to believe the airport is polluting worse than the freeways and dangerous. The real danger there is to the pilots who occasionally have an accident. I can't recall ANY accident at SMO that ever physically hurt a neighbor on the ground.

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:08:49 am

Unbiased said...

The jet that crashed the other days was a terrible accident for sure. Many terrible fatal car accidents occur on the freeways in LA. The jet didn't involve anywhere but the airport. Could a jet crash in the neighborhood? Yes, but then we need to look at closing LAX and every other airport. Life doesn't have a safety guarantee. If you live near the airport and a plane crash is what keeps you up at night then let me inform you of some other scary statistics:

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:20:57 am

Unbiased said...

We are well overdue for a big earthquake. There are no other runways near the west side for emergency response aircraft. The power will be out, roads will be clogged with traffic and we will need the precious runway at SMO. LAX and Van Nuys are the next closest and they are too far away if power is out and the streets are clogged. For selfish reasons of our own, we should want that runway for emergencies. You're more likely to have a car accident, a heart attack, be bitten by a shark or be murdered by a thug then have an airplane crash into you and kill you. I'm not being facetious! Even when a plane has crashed into a home near SMO there was only some minor property damage. Again, yes a jet could crash but it's not enough risk to scrap an entire airport. A 747 coming into LAX should worry you more because they also have an arrival right over Santa Monica.

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:27:59 am

Unbiased said...

Pollution: Yes aviation fuel has a small amount of lead. Most of the lead is actually burned up in the engine and doesn't go back into the environment. If your home was built before the late 70s you probably have more lead in your home's paint than you would get breathing plane exhaust for years. Need proof? Go talk to some old pilots who have been exposed to the stuff for years. As far as I know no pilot has ever succumbed to lead poisoning. Jet fuel has fine particle pollution but jet fuel is very similar to kerosene and diesel. If you have a backyard BBQ or live near a freeway where trucks go by you're already breathing in far more fine particles. There are FACTS that can be verified!

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:32:01 am

Unbiased said...

See what I am saying about distorting the facts? I have not once said that there was NO safety risk or NO pollution. I am saying that none of the concerns are any worse than any of the other concerns that go along with congested, urban living. If presented with the UNBIASED facts then you must draw the conclusion that someone is trying to make you believe things are worse for their own gain. Real Estate Developers.

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:36:21 am

Unbiased said...

I am sympathetic and do not doubt that the neighbors believe what they're being told. I also believe they would rather have a park but let's now look at how Santa Monica city council has trended toward ever bigger development. Have you visiting downtown lately? Notice all of these high rise projects and infrastructure improvements? Santa Monica is growing at a staggering rate. The east/west light rail service being built will be in very close proximity to the airport property. The airport sits on a hill and actually has beach views on a clear day. See next post:

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:48:38 am

Unbiased said...

The land could be sold off in parcels for more money than any of us can imagine. The amount of retail and housing space that could fit there is huge. It's a modern day gold rush. If you live in America you know how much big business lies and distorts the facts to get things passed with government or public opinion. Why is this any different? It isn't. A park would be great but it will be a monumental feat to get it. In fact if they do get their way and the airport becomes a park I will consider them political geniuses and they should all run for office. If you can run against corporate developer money with all their political clout and press and still win, that's almost unprecedented. Or maybe, just maybe, they're on the same side and this is a wolf in sheep's clothing. At the last minute they lose to the developers... but it was them all along! You and the rest of the neighbors just got bamboozled. Has anyone ever questioned why at least one of the city councilors has a brother who runs one of the anti airport groups and he doesn't even live here? Conflict of interests.

Oct. 5, 2013, 11:54:41 am

Unbiased said...

Let me finish by apologizing for dominating this blog. I am just sick of the distortions going on and nice people like Ana are being misinformed. I am not a pilot. Hey if you are a pilot you should be getting better organized because you're getting ran over by these groups. I live and work in Santa Monica and I am trying to see both sides of this but I fear that what's really going on is something that NO ONE really wants! Be careful and get the facts before taking a side!

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