Timetable Released for Vista Field Closure in Kennewick – Airfield Ceases Operations Dec. 31.
The Port of Kennewick has come up with a timetable for the closure of the facility, and it’s a brisk schedule.
Earlier this spring, the long-standing Tri-Cities landmark was not able to get another reprieve, and the Port voted to close the airfield, and utilize the land for other development.
Since starting life as a secondary landing site for World War II pilots training for overseas combat, Vista Field has come close to being shutdown several times. Most recently, the field has been losing thousands of dollars a year, and an attempt in 2011-2012 to utilize a private “sub-contractor” to operate it failed.
The Port outlined a number of steps for the closure, from purchasing the Shannon aircraft hanger to demolishing the runways, taxiways and other aircraft surfaces. They will also not replenish the aircraft fueling tanks, and once the facility is closed, will demolish the Vista Hangers.
The Port plan also mandates the establishment of a litigation fund not to exceed $500,000 for the purpose of defending against any legal action related to the closure of the field.
The plan also calls for public input as to the structure and direction of the redevelopment of the area.
-SOME HISTORY of Vista Field.
The airfield dated back to 1942, when the Kennewick Irrigation District acquired the land upon which the field sits. The KID transferred some of that land to the City of Kennewick for the purpose of building a municipal airport. It was then leased by the U.S. government as an auxiliary airfield for the military pilots training out of the Pasco Naval Air Station.
After World War II, the city operated it as an airport until it was sold to the Port in 1991. The field previously survived closure attempts in the 1970’s and again about ten years ago.