Hollingsworth Funds has given $25,000 to Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) to assist in adding playground equipment and a picnic pavilion to the aviation-themed community park being developed at the South Carolina airport.
“Hollingsworth Funds grants are made possible from a trust left by John D. Hollingsworth, Jr., who learned to fly at the Greenville Downtown Airport and had an aviation department here for over 35 years,” said Hank Brown, owner of Greenville Jet Center and former chief pilot for Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth was a textile executive and real estate investor who owned and operated a international fiber-processing machinery and textile carding business from his Greenville County headquarters. He left the bulk of his estate, valued at approximately $290 million, to his foundation, Hollingsworth Funds, which is administered by the Community Foundation of Greenville.
“One of his hobbies was flying and while he was living he definitely demonstrated many times his financial support for the children, and all citizens, of Greenville County,” Brown noted. “It just seems fitting that his generous legacy is going to help make the park complete.”
The park was conceived to fill a need since more than 10,000 school children a year used to tour nearby Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) before 9/11. “They can no longer do that due to security changes,” said Joe Frasher, GMU’s airport director. “The Downtown Airport receives many inquiries from large groups that would like to come out to the airport for tours. Unfortunately, we have not always been able to accommodate large groups due to the size of our facilities. Once the park is completed, we will be able to host groups of most any size.”
The park’s site work, educational amphitheater, exercise “Perimeter Taxiway” and walking “Runways” have been completed and aviation-themed playground equipment has been added for children 2-5 years old, along with a multi-age use swing set and a bi-plane climber. Soon, a Cessna 310 will be mounted by the park and a 15-foot cross section of a Boeing 737 fuselage will become the park’s handicapped accessible entrance.
The park is free to use and open to the public during daylight hours.