Back in 1939, two businessmen turned 147 acres of gladiola and onion fields into one of the first Flying Fields on Florida’s west coast.
In 1980, the Airpark came within one vote of closing forever. A fixture for Florida flyers since 1939 had become the subject of neighborhood complaints and politics. It took the mayor to break a tie vote and save the airport, now surrounded by residential development.
More recently, runway 16/34 was extended by 610 feet, which gave it an overall length of just over 4,000 feet. The entire runway and taxiway was leveled and resurfaced. The condition of the runway is now described as “excellent.” The new runway provides a greater level of safety for both take offs and landings. Now when departing runway 16, aircraft will be at a higher altitude over the neighborhoods on the south end of the field which is not only safer, but less intrusive. A number of trees located on private property were trimmed or removed for better approach clearance. And, a lighted windsock was installed on the north end of the field.
An automated airport weather station (AWOS) III system was installed this year. It goes without saying how important this system is for pilots. Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) can now add information to the AWOS recording to better inform pilots of the airport’s environment.
Other improvements that were completed this year include a new Campus for the Civil Air Patrol and the Tampa Bay Veteran Alliance. This project includes five new modular buildings, and a 4,500 square foot drill pad. In addition, the FBO building was completely refurbished.