Goodbye Rialto Airport – Hello Target

Rialto AirportI attended the tenants meeting tonight. Not much to say. The City of Rialto took over the airport in 8/05. The 2008 recession stopped the plan to turn the airport into a mixed development as planned. They had something going for them and got messed up when California eliminated the redevelopment authorities. So they had to get through that and find money from another source. They’ve apparently done that and everything is once again on track. They are in the process of complying with state rules, federal regulations, and Part 49 Code of Federal Regulations.

Closing Rialto airport will probably turn out to be the wrong move, but Congress said that they could do it and then keep the money (due to unethical backroom conduct – CalPilots Editor). So it will happen.

The Sheriff’s Department has an aircraft operation there and that is what will determine the closing date. It will move to SBA and the city there is building a new facility for them there. SBA will also build hangars for the Rialto tenants that express an interest in moving.

No one can move and be reimbursed until they get a “notice of eligibility” for reimbursement of expenses involved in moving. This comes with the closing of Rialto and entitles the holder to be reimbursed for moving costs. I have no idea as to who is paying this.

Congress’ action took this out of the hands of all but the city; and they have made their decision. Rialto has provided the tenants with info on airports within 50 miles. The city has turned over the management of the airport to a firm called EPIC. It is expected that most tenants will move to Santa Barbara Airport (SBA). Someone from SBA spoke on what they could expect there (access badges will be required there).

A Target store will start building as soon as the Sheriff moves and the runway is torn up. This will probably be after Jan of next year.


Jack Kenton is a Director of the California Pilots Association

Rialto Airport Redevelopment Project – “Renaissance Rialto”
The City of Rialto has approved the Renaissance Specific Plan, a 1,500 acre master planned area along the 210 Freeway, west of Ayala Avenue. The City of Rialto plans to close and redevelop the Rialto Municipal Airport (Art Scholl Memorial Field) as part of this premier project.

Closure of the Airport will require the relocation of all flight operations and tenants to surrounding general aviation Airports in the region. The closure of the Airport is anticipated to 18 -24 months.

Lewis-Hillwood Rialto, the master developer for the redevelopment of the Airport facilities, is a joint venture of the Lewis Operating Companies and Hillwood Properties, which is a Ross Perot Company.

The Planning Center, a renowned land use and planning consulting firm, prepared the Renaissance Land Use Plan, which envisions a diverse yet balanced mixed-use community that will provide a variety of housing choices, as well as major employment and business development opportunities for the community.

Development of “Renaissance Rialto” will begin in earnest when the economy recovers and demand for new development returns.
Last Updated: 5/10/2011