By a 7-1 vote, Palo Alto's City Council has reaffirmed its intent to keep its airport open for at least another 20 years and to accept FAA Airport Improvement Program grants. The fuss began earlier this year when the city manager refused to cosign an FAA grant application with the County of Santa Clara, which operates the airport as part of a three-airport county system under a 50-year lease with the city. That lease expires in 12 years, and without the city's promise to keep the airport open, the FAA withdrew the grant. Local pilots, including AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Bob Lenox and Peter Carpenter, chairman of the Joint Community Relations Committee for the Palo Alto Airport, sprang into action to persuade the city of the value of the airport. Carpenter and other supporters mobilized local citizens and pilots to attend the Monday evening city council meeting where the future of the airport would be decided. "This successful outcome would likely have been different had it not been for the devotion and passion of airport supporters," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "Palo Alto Airport supporters employed the same tactics used to ensure the future of San Jose's Reid Hillview Airport: public and local involvement."
July 15, 2005