by Dagmar Reinhard
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Fernando León Rios, a native of Santa María de Dota, who was a pioneer when he came 30 years ago to San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón, had to battle with inclement weather conditions starting his new life. In addition, there were no roads, no electricity or tap water in this fast growing village.
He is a spirited young person of 88 years and head of a very large
family. He describes himself as an activist, writer, musician, and organizer. His whole life he has been working with young people driving the progress of the community.
Don Fernando who lives near the airport in San Isidro where the SANSA airlines initiated flights between San José and Pérez Zeledón in December 2015, continued his account of the history and progress of air traffic to the valley:
“The first airport,” Don Fernando tells us, “was built in 1930 in what is now the cemetery and was in 1940 moved to the place where today the Municipal Market is.
AVE and ENTA airlines used to land there, transporting, among others, sick people and mail since the roads to San José or towards the coast were bad or non-existent. A new airport was built in the 80’s in what used to be a paddock on the top of a long stretched hill at the entrance to the city. Civil Aviation closed it down because it was not profitable.”
Years passed by and the 400 m long gravel track was used for horse or car racing, driving lessons or bike rides. The not really official fun ended recently when ambitious projects such as reviving and improving the airport, building homes, a hotel and a hospital in the vicinity of the airport were submitted and approved.
We hope to hear more historical tales from Don Fernando!