The pilots who use Florida’s Venice Municipal are excited about their airport, and they’re hoping their enthusiasm is contagious. Using a local holiday parade and airport birthday celebration to reach out to the nonflying public, pilots helped engender good will for their airport despite long-running battles over noise and safety issues.
More than 3,000 people attended the Dec. 6 birthday bash and airport open house for Venice Municipal, while thousands of others saw the airport in a new light after the Venice Aviation Society Inc. (VASI), a local pilots group, had a float in the community’s holiday parade.
“Both events were grand slam home runs, and the outreach will continue,” said Nick Carlucci, an AOPA member and president of VASI.
The airport has been under attack by a small number of vocal anti-airport neighbors who have raised noise and safety concerns about the field. AOPA has been actively involved working with pilots and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer John Yurosko to enhance the airport’s image and to encourage city officials to take action to protect the field.
But the battle has been uphill. The Venice City Council disbanded the airport advisory board earlier this year after the board called for improvements and objected to proposals to shorten the runway or restrict access to the airport. The city also has struggled to develop an updated master plan for the airport that complies with FAA requirements to maintain airport safety and utility.