The Wolf Aviation Fund has awarded a grant to the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) in South Carolina for its new park.
“Wolf Aviation Funds strives to fund projects that enable individuals and groups to accomplish objectives promoting and benefiting general aviation and its usefulness to society, thus reaching out into the community to improve public understanding and perception of this industry. General aviation sometimes seems out of reach to people, an activity too expensive or complex for participation, and this misperception can cripple efforts to improve policy,” stated Rol Murrow, executive director, Wolf Aviation Fund.
“How can we change the way others see us?” he continued. “We can accomplish a lot by helping support organizations who are working within their communities to encourage aviation education. Students in the United States are said to rank low in the industrialized world in mastering math and science. Good aviation and space education programs inspire young people to expand their intellectual as well as physical horizons.”
“The park project was conceived to accommodate the more than 10,000 school age children a year who used to visit our commercial service airport (Greenville Spartanburg Airport GSP) prior to 9/11. GSP can no longer provide airport tours due to security constraints enacted as a result of 9/11. We also want to provide a community place where people can get outside and be active, exercise, play, and learn,” said Lara Kaufmann, Public Relations Director for the Greenville Downtown Airport.
“We are honored that The Wolf Aviation Fund’s trustees saw merit in our project and chose to give us a grant,” added Joe Frasher, Airport Director of the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU). “These funds, along with money raised and other funds that are being donated, will help us to eventually compete the park.”
The park opened late last fall as a free-to-use public open green space. It currently contains an educational amphitheater, paved exercise “Perimeter Taxiway” and walking “Runways” that will soon be painted to look like real ones. A Boeing 737 fuselage is currently being transformed by Greenville Technical College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology program into a handicapped accessible park entrance. By mid-June, barring any weather delays, an aviation themed playground set designed for children 2-5 years old, a swing set and an airplane shaped climbing structure will be installed in the new park.
The park project committee is now applying for grants and seeking financial help to add aviation themed playground equipment for school aged children 5-12 years old and for a picnic pavilion.
GMU is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn’t rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest FBO in S.C., as well as more than 25 other aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the local economy.