EAST HAVEN, Conn. — Tweed New Haven Airport's planned expansion has been applauded by many in the greater New Haven area, but some residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the airport want the plan grounded.
Friday afternoon in East Haven, which is one of the two communities the airport property occupies, residents gathered in front of East Haven Town Hall for a peaceful protest of what they say is a plan that would cripple this community.
Almost a year ago, it was announced that Tweed New Haven Airport would expand its runway by 1,000 feet and have a brand-new commercial terminal on the East Haven side of the airport by the fall of 2025.
No thanks, some said Friday.
"We live in a populated area here and this airport should not be developed in a populated area but in a secluded area such as Bradley (Airport)," said Mario Piscitelli of East Haven.
"Air pollution, water pollution, flooding, traffic congestion, noise," were among the items of concern for Gretl Gallicchio, of New Haven, who has lived near the airport for 20 years.
"If the expansion does move forward, I am very confident that we are addressing many of their concerns, whether it's traffic, or noise and a lot of that information will come from the environmental assessment that we're doing right now," said Sean Scanlon, the Executive Director of the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority.
That study is expected to be complete sometime this Summer. But, East Haven's Mayor, Joe Carfora, who was unavailable for comment Friday, said last month he does not support a plan for the new terminal in his community.
"The mayor said, and the keywords were 'at this time' in his speech and we have been actively talking to him," said Scanlon, who is also a Democratic state representative. "I talk to him all the time and we're actively working through issues. He does have concerns."
"The planes sound like they're in my bedroom every morning," said Jean Edwards-Chieppo of East haven.
By June, there will be 12 Avelo Airlines departures and 12 arrivals at Tweed each day and Scanlon noted that the airline will soon announce additional flights.
"I'm confident that we can get together on a compromise deal to move forward to not just do our expansion but to do it with the support of the neighborhood," Scanlon told FOX61.
130,000 people have used the airport since November, Scanlon added, which is almost triple the number of passengers handled by Tweed in a full year at any time in the recent past.
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