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Gillespie Field Airport to Expand, Council Talks 'Santee Aerotropolis'

The airport on the edge of Santee is set to expand by 70 acres starting next year, and the city's getting ready to take advantage of it.

Talk about Gillespie Field is in the air- KPBS recently published a story about the upcoming expansion of the county-run airport and the Santee City Council discussed the "Santee Aerotropolis" at the last meeting, a plan for Santee businesses to better cash in on the nearby airport.

Redevelopment plans for the 70-acre expansion into the site of the old El Cajon Speedway include construction of a new taxiway and businesses related to the aeronautics industry.

The KPBS article quotes a group of East County residents that don't want to see more flight training at the airport because of the noise the low-flying and often circling aircraft make. Director of airports for San Diego County, Peter Drinkwater, told KPBS the county can't deny new flight schools access to the expanded airport.

Santee's airport neighbor saw 184,500 flights last year, about 35,000 fewer than the 40 year average, according to Drinkwater.

The expansion is scheduled to break ground in 2014.

The Santee City Council discussed the concept of the "Santee Aerotropolis" at the January 9 meeting. The idea is to utilize the economic engine of the airport and help surrounding businesses take advantage of a major economic center of East County.

City staff said they are studying transportation linkage- the best strategy to link the airport with businesses around it, specifically those on the Santee side of the fence. This would include creating an entrance to the airport from the Santee side. They are in talks with county to create a safe corridor so planes can taxi in and out of first row of buildings.

According to city staff, there are about 150 acres in Santee, between Magnolia Avenue, Cuyamaca Street and SR-52, that could benefit from this project. They want to set the city up in advance to take advantage of airport and promote the key 150 acres.

City staff said that the East County Economic Development Council is working diligently to obtain grant money for this project.

Read more about the proposed Gillespie Field expansion at KPBS

Susan Blitz January 25, 2013 at 05:49 PM
The East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC) is promoting the Aerotropolis. What sounds like a bad dream will become a living nightmare with the expansion and addition of even more flight schools. Gillespie has more flight schools than any other county airport. Why? Because they get sweet deals and have no rules to abide by. It's outrageous. Santee, don't be duped!!!
Doug Curlee January 25, 2013 at 06:59 PM
before we all go thinkng there's a huge groundswell of opposition here, i need to point out , at the risk of offending people i know and consider friends, the fact that i believe susan blitz and sue strom are in fact the same person..i know sue strom and ed blitz are married.. which leads me to wonder what rheir interest in all this is.. doug
Susan Blitz January 25, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Doug!!! Cathy and I were just thinking about you and how to get a hold of you. Yes, Sue Strom and Sue Blitz are the same person, and neither of them knows how to use the computer very well. I was just as surprised as you to see both names. Ed and I are both on the steering committee for ASAP, Advocates for Safe Airport Policies. On another note, please contact me through ASAP-Gillespie Field. We keep the names and email addresses on our database (yes, really, 400 people) private. Or you may still have my email from the Channel 39 reunion. It's good to "see" you again. Best, Sue
Susan Blitz January 25, 2013 at 11:00 PM
See, I did it again.
Doug Curlee January 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM
i will, kid.. it'd be good to see you again.. doug

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