Helipad at Mar-a-Lago to be demolished after 4-year presidential exception

Hannah Morse
 
| Palm Beach Daily News

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President Trump at Mar-a-Lago for last presidential Christmas

The Palm Beach Post’s Antonio Fins and Christine Stapleton discuss Mar-a-Lago’s role in President Trump’s presidency and future.

USA TODAY

PALM BEACH, Fla. – The city of Palm Beach, Florida, will once again be a helicopter-free haven as a permit was given Tuesday for demolition of the town’s sole helipad at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

But whether former President Donald Trump’s helipad would remain in place after his presidency was never a question, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said, noting that representatives for the club had inquired about permits to remove the helipad “in the past few weeks.”

“It seems to have been more controversial in media reports than it is in actual practice,” Blouin said. “They never made a request to keep it.”

Previously: Use of helipad at Mar-a-Lago ends with Trump’s term on Jan. 20

Contractor Pyramid Builders of Palm Beach was hired for the demolition job, according to the town building permit. The cost will run an estimated $15,000.

“It appears they are acting in good faith and living up their end of the bargain because they have taken the first step” to getting the helipad removed, Town Council President Maggie Zeidman told the Palm Beach Daily News on Wednesday.

It was unclear when the demolition would begin or how long it would take. It was intact when a Daily News staffer drove by on Wednesday afternoon.

The town does not allow helicopters or helipads, but it made an exception for Mar-a-Lago on the conditions that it be used only for business related to the executive office and that it must be removed when he left office.

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A major selling point was that the president could fly to and from Palm Beach International Airport to Mar-a-Lago by helicopter without causing traffic along Southern Boulevard. But during his many visits, the president often opted to drive to his private club along a route where fans and foes would gather to greet him.

The helipad, a concrete slab 50 feet long and 8 inches deep, was built in February 2017 on the west lawn of Mar-a-Lago, closer to the Intracoastal Waterway.

In April of that year, and again that December, a Trump corporate helicopter co-owned by DT Connect II and DT Connect II Member Corp – the executives of those companies being Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. – was spotted on the Mar-a-Lago helipad. It was unclear who was on the helicopter.

Contributing: Carol Rose, Palm Beach Daily News 

Follow reporter Hannah Morse on Twitter: @mannahhorse

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