California airport overcomes threats, gets facelift

October 25, 2007

California airport overcomes threats, gets facelift

By AOPA ePublishing staff

Key Los Angeles International reliever airport, Hawthorne Municipal, will be closed for almost a month—but it's a good thing. Thanks to nearly $5 million in Airport Improvement Program funds, the airport will be getting a facelift: repaved runway and taxiways. It is scheduled to reopen on Nov. 19.

Just a few years ago, the airport was threatened multiple times by closure and encroachment.

AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Gary Parsons rallied local pilots and the community to prevent the airport from being turned into a shopping mall in 1999.

Then, in 2000, two more efforts were needed to protect the airport. Officials proposed to build a school just off the end of the runway; later, it was eyed to become a football stadium, hotel, theme park, and retail complex.

AOPA honored Parsons with the association's prestigious award, the 2000 Sharples Award. Read more about the airport and Parsons' efforts.

Now, it is a thriving airport with community support.

"This is a perfect example of how persistence and dedicated local pilot involvement can pay off," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "This once-threatened airport is now valued by the community."

October 25, 2007