Santa Cruz Sky Park

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Sky Park area showing the remnants of the runways on the right. Photographed 2005-04-21

Santa Cruz Sky Park was an airport located in Scotts Valley, California, within Santa Cruz County.

Historical Timeline[edit]

2/1947 Sky Park Airport, a private field built by Jack and Lola Graham on their property, begins operation in Scotts Valley. One of its primary purposes is to provide a facility for training of pilots under terms of the G.I. Bill.1
2/1949 Jack Wilson and Wayne Voights were managers of Skypark Airport.
5/1957 Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce passes a resolution encouraging City to sell lands originally acquired for Swanton Airport and to use the money for acquisition and operation of Sky Park. An accompanying study cites the advantages of Sky Park. A heliport can be developed there to provide short-haul public transportation with connections to Watsonville Airport which can be expanded to meet the needs of the jet age.1
8/1960 The City of Santa Cruz is again urged to acquire Sky Park, this time in a citizens' group report called "Santa Cruz of Tomorrow". Reasons are stated why Watsonville Airport cannot adequately serve the needs of the Santa Cruz area. Realignment of the Sky Park runway to add 500 feet is proposed.1
7/1961 H.K. Friedland & Associates completes a Preliminary Airport Site Selection Study under contract to the City of Santa Cruz. Nine sites are examined. Sky Park is deemed inadequate because many FAA criteria cannot be met and federal aid therefore would not be obtainable. A site on the Wilder Ranch, two miles west of the city limits, is selected as the optimum location.1
8/1961 Santa Cruz Airport Commission in a report to the City Council disagrees with Friedland study recommendation. Commission instead notes that Sky Park is for sale, that it is the best facility for airport purposes, and that "federal assistance is not practical nor necessary for the acquisition and development of an airport". The City—in cooperation with the County, if possible—is urged to acquire the Airport.1
11/1961 Santa Cruz City Council requests the California Aeronautics Commission to grant waivers of certain Sky Park deficiencies and, in the event the City and/or the County of Santa Cruz purchase the airport, to reissue an airport permit.1
1/1962 Santa Cruz City Council approves a resolution to acquire Sky Park.1
10/1962 City Council approves agreement to purchase the 45.8 acre (185,000 m²) Sky Park property from owner Jack Graham for $197,000. The agreement calls for an initial payment of $120,000, obtained as proceeds from the sale of Swanton tract airport property, for approximately 27.5 acres (111,000 m²) with additional land to be purchased with payments of about $10,000 per year to be spread over 8 years. The parcels not immediately acquired will be leased by the City for $100 per month until purchased. The existing lease between Graham and Russell and Esther Rice for operation of the airport will be honored by the City.1
11/1962 State Division of Aeronautics reissues airport permit for Sky Park.1
10/1963 Santa Cruz City Council requests that the Sky Park property be excluded from the proposed incorporation of Scotts Valley.1
1/1964 Sky Park property is annexed to the City of Santa Cruz.1
1965 James Dahm takes over the Rices' lease for operation of Sky Park.1
6/1966 Master Plan of the Santa Cruz Municipal Airport (Sky Park) is approved by Santa Cruz City Council.1
7/1966 City of Santa Cruz requests $11,700 in federal aid for construction of a realigned runway and parallel taxiway at Sky Park. Total project cost is estimated at $23,400.1
8/1966 Federal Aviation Administration turns down Sky Park grant application because the proposed construction would not meet federal standards:
  • a 20:1 approach slope from the north is impossible unless the approach path is angled;
  • 100' is required between runway and taxiway centerlines and only 85' is planned at the north end.
  • a hangar is only 125' from the runway centerline (200' is minimum);
  • terrain prevents extending the runway to more than 2,200' usable length, too short for Basic Utility II standards.1
1966 City of Scotts Valley is incorporated.1
3/1968 Lease agreement between City of Santa Cruz and James Dahm for operation of Sky Park is signed. Lease is for 25 years.1
1968 Realigned runway at Sky Park is constructed.1
10/1975 County does a "Preliminary Initial Study" of Sky Park to provide background for development of airport policies to be included in the County Regional Transportation Plan. The policy as ultimately adopted by the County Regional Transportation Commission recommends that Sky Park remain a recreational airport operating at a level no greater than it then is.1
2/7/1981 Apple Computer Co-Founder Steve Wozniak crashes his V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza on takeoff for a flight to San Diego at Sky Park Airport with three passengers aboard. He received facial injuries and had temporary short-term memory loss for five weeks following the accident.2
1/1983 Sky Park closed.
10/1989 Following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake president George H. W. Bush lands at the former Santa Cruz Sky Park site in Marine One to tour the damage to Santa Cruz.
3/1990 City of Scotts Valley publishes Environmental Impact Report by Earth Metrics analysing the Redevelopment Plan for Sky Park.3

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Coordinates: 37°03′N 122°02′W / 37.05°N 122.03°W / 37.05; -122.03