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"Forum Focuses on Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Airport's Runway-Expansion Plan"


 
Friday, May 21, 2004

Forum Focuses on Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Airport's Runway-Expansion Plan
The Miami (FL) Herald


Dave McCluskey moved into his Melaleuca Gardens home in Dania Beach
nearly 12 years ago, when the airplane traffic and the noise were more
bearable.

On Thursday, McCluskey joined a chorus of about 100 worried residents
who gathered at Davie Town Hall to learn more about a planned runway
expansion at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that would
increase the jet noise so much, some of them -- including McCluskey --
would be forced to move.

"I'm hoping nothing happens," McCluskey said. "I don't want to move."
McCluskey shares the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with his
12-year-old daughter. His wife died two years ago of lung cancer.

"My wife and I bought the house and there's a lot of memories in there,"
he said.

The current plan -- approved by county commissioners Dec. 9 -- includes
extending the south runway to 8,000 feet, at a cost of $455 million to
$495 million, according to airport consultants Leigh Fisher Associates.
The consultant has identified about 1,000 Davie residents that could be
subjected to noise levels so high, the county would have to buy their
homes. Thousands more would qualify for soundproofing.

Land speculators have panicked residents by mailing thousands of letters
indicating the land is going to be condemned, and offering to buy up the
homes for cash.

But residents in Melaleuca Gardens have fought back with yard signs that
read, "NOT FOR SALE." The meeting was organized by Brenda Chalifour, who
leads Save our Shoreline, an activist group fighting the expansion. It
was hosted by the Davie Airport Advisory Board. Members of area
environmental groups attended, along with County Commissioner John
Rodstrom and other officials with interests in the airport.

Chalifour said the expansion is just a concept, and rallied neighbors to
lobby Broward County commissioners.

Rhonda Montoya Hasan walked out of the meeting with other residents from
the Davie Country Estates neighborhood and sighed.

"It seems it's a little late to challenge this," she said.


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