AOPA is working closely with Palo Alto Airport Support Network volunteer Bob Lenox and the airport's Joint Community Relations Committee to keep the airport operating in the future. The City of Palo Alto, which owns the airport but leases it to Santa Clara County as part of the regional reliever airport system, refused to co-sign an FAA grant obligation that would keep the airport open for 20 years. (The county's 50-year lease on the airport expires in 12 years.) Without the city's assurance, the FAA withdrew a federal grant for updates to pilot-controlled runway lights and a weather system. The airport has received $3.08 million in FAA Airport Improvement grants since 1988, including one for $450,000 in 2003. AOPA currently is reviewing the lease between the city and Santa Clara County. The association also is working with the ASN volunteer and other local airport advocates to prepare a presentation to make at the city council's July 11 meeting. AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn also met with airport advocates on the issue during a recent AOPA Pilot Town Meeting in San Carlos.
June 24, 2005