AOPA first learned of the closure threat last year thanks to Vicki Hurt—a pilot and AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer at the field. Together, AOPA and Hurt worked to get more than 200 pilots, tenants, and local business leaders to oppose its closure.
Talks of relocating the general aviation facility had been ongoing since the 1970s, but serious discussion emerged in 2021. Just minutes from downtown, Midland Airpark is centrally located, making it a key target for land redevelopment. City officials explored moving the airpark from its central location to the east side of Midland International Air and Space Port Airport, but plans were quickly changed after they learned such an endeavor would cost roughly $124 million.
Mayor Patrick Payton solidified the city’s decision to maintain Midland Airpark at its present location in a letter to the FAA, while council member Lori Blong agreed that moving the airpark wouldn’t be in the best interest of Midlanders.
Aside from the cost, the city recognized Midland Airpark’s economic contribution to the local economy. Though not in the same tier as Midland International, the airport still drives steady traffic, generating business for the community and supporting jobs.
In weighing its options, the city also found that keeping the airport open would allow for a more beneficial relationship with the FAA. Relinquishing plans to close the airpark would incentivize the FAA to give the city more support for future airport projects.
The city’s decision is a relief for locals like Hurt who understand the value of the community airport. “Local pilots, including myself, are so fortunate to have the use of such a fine facility with all the advantages of the nearby towered airport. I believe we all see the economic impact with the daily arrivals of people doing business in Midland. The convenience of this facility is a very important part of their transactions,” said Hurt.
Midland Airpark is just one of many GA airports that have faced closure threats in recent years. More than 1,000 ASN volunteers are often the first to alert AOPA about local airport issues, and work diligently with AOPA staff to preserve and protect our nation’s airports. AOPA strives to have an ASN at every public use airport in the United States.