Assigning a historical designation to almost the entire Cape May, N.J., airport—including runways and taxiways—does not meet necessary criteria, would stall airport improvements, and should be denied, AOPA said in a filing with state historical preservation officials.
In a June 2 letter to New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office, AOPA supported the position of Cape May County, N.J., the airport’s sponsor under the Airport Improvement Program, and the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the airport’s lessee and operator, opposing a historical designation state officials are considering for the airport.
“AOPA strongly opposes this request which will in our opinion have a detrimental effect on the continued viability and improvement of the airport as well as adjacent, existing, and planned new facilities,” wrote Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy. Several years’ worth of planning for significant airport improvements intended to support regional economic development could be jeopardized by a historical designation, he said.
Research showed that many of the airport’s buildings already have been extensively renovated both structurally and in terms of materials used, rendering them “no longer of the era or construction which would qualify as historically significant.”
The boundaries shown for the historical designation request included runways and taxiways. “We simply do not believe that runways and taxiway facilities meet the criteria for historic designation any more than a paved portion of a street would be classified historically significant,” he wrote.
A former military airfield, Cape May Airport is home to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, established to honor the Navy airmen who died during dive-bomber pilot training during World War II. In September 1997 the facility’s Hangar Number One was added to the National Register of Historic Places, said the museum’s home page.