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"Airport argument reviewed"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 15:30:04 -0500
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Airport argument reviewed
By LORI STABILE
The Springfield (MA) Republican
PALMER - Hoping to save the Palmer Airport from a future as a housing
development, local pilots and other interested parties will make their case
for keeping it to area legislators tomorrow at the Statehouse.
Palmer Redevelopment Authority members Frank G. Real Jr. and Blake E.
Lamothe, Palmer pilots David A. Swirk and Paul H. Gibney, and Town
Councilors Keith M. Parent and Robert S. Haveles talked about the airport at
a meeting of the authority last night.
Real expects about 20 people to attend the Statehouse meeting with state
Rep. Todd M. Smola, R-Palmer; state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre; and
Massachusetts Aeronautical Commission representatives. They want legislators
to lobby for funding, so the town can purchase the $2 million airport.
Gibney will mention a new program that NASA is testing involving a small
aircraft transportation system. Through this program, people would be able
to go to a small airport like Palmer, and get a connecting flight to a
larger airport. Swirk will talk about the airport's history.
Seven council members voted March 16 to support the efforts of lobbying for
legislative action to seek funding for the airport. While Parent said he's
for anything that shows economic development, he emphasized that the council
never said they would put up money to retain the airport.
Real said they want the airport to be self-supporting. The authority may run
it, or some other agency. It will not need an operating budget from the
town, he said. Parent said the council wants specifics about the airport's
"The reality is ... is it going to be a sinkhole after a couple of years?"
Parent asked. "Is it going to be viable?"
Haveles echoed Parent's comments. He said the authority and the pilots need
to show how the airport will survive, if the funding comes through.
"You can't go down Wednesday thinking you're going to sit at a round table
and talk about how great it's going to be," Haveles said.
Real noted that a helicopter business from Connecticut has expressed
interest in running a flight school at the Palmer Airport. Other potential
investors have approached him as well, Real said.
The airport is owned by Jenjill Inc. of Wilbraham. Jenjill has already
received preliminary approval from the Planning Board to build a 41-lot
subdivision called "River's Edge" on airport land, which is approximately
Anyone interested in making the case to save the Palmer Airport is invited
to go on the van trip to Boston. Vans will pick up people at the Town
Building and old railroad station on Depot Street at 8:30 a.m. Those
interested in going on the trip can leave a message at (413) 283-4100.
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA General Aviation Forum
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