Only a few years ago the birthplace of scheduled airline service and the home of National Airlines was considered for demolition. Local politicians and a small but powerful group wanted to turn the airport into a park ending the life of this historic and vibrant airfield overlooking Tampa Bay.
The Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society along with local advocates were instrumental in winning the battle to demolish the airport. Through their efforts politicians, local officials, and voters realized the economic and historic significance of the airport, thus voting to sustain Albert Whitted as an airport in perpetuity.
After the battle to preserve the airport was over, one organization continues to shine. The Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society did not sit on its laurels after their victory. AWAPS has evolved from the original focus of preserving the airport to becoming a community advocate and outreach organization. AWAPS focus is on continually promoting the importance of the airport and its contribution to the local community.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Terri Giffords at a recent pancake breakfast. Terri was the busiest person at the airport that day with running both a pancake breakfast and providing the beverages at an event the Navy was putting on at the dock next to the airport. As a matter of fact our interview took place on a golf cart while transporting ice because it was the only way I could get time with her.
Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society has three main purposes:
- Historic Preservation and Enhancement of Albert Whitted Airport
- To educate the public about Albert Whitted Airport and general aviation.
- To ensure the community benefit of Albert Whitted Airport and general aviation.
With Terri Griner at the helm of this organization I expect we will see many good things come from her outstanding efforts. Listen to my interview with Terri Griner and you will conclude that although soft spoken, Terri has a passion for what she does which creates a strong voice heard throughout the local community.
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Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society