Vote Fails to Save Historic Berlin Airport
A grass-roots campaign to save Tempelhof Airport, the epicenter of the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49, fizzled Sunday after supporters failed to win enough votes in a citywide referendum.
Voters endorsed a measure to prevent the closure of the Cold War landmark this year by a 3 to 2 ratio. But election officials said they could not certify the results because turnout was too low. Only 22 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of the measure, just short of the 25 percent required.
Berlin lawmakers had previously decreed that the historic site -- Orville Wright tested one of his flying machines on the grounds, and Adolf Hitler later built the largest building in Europe there -- must close down in October to make way for a planned international airport on the southeast edge of the city.
Mayor Klaus Wowereit said after the vote that the city would move ahead with its plans to mothball Tempelhof.