To the Editor:
This fall at a neighborhood meeting, I met with a number of residents who live in the area bordering the airport property. Many of these individuals purchased their homes before the airport acquired the surrounding land and cleared out houses to support an extended runway.
Of the variety of topics discussed at the meeting, one that many residents voiced concern over was motorists driving across the airport-owned field behind the neighborhood. Drivers, likely aiming to avoid traffic in Apponaug, frequently sped by. Residents, who often walked their dogs or jogged across the grass field, reported feeling unsafe.
I approached the airport administration, and we discussed how to best address the neighbors’ concerns. I was pleased when airport personnel agreed to place bollards along the field’s perimeter to prevent cars from driving in the area. While the bollards block cars, they allow pedestrians and bike riders to enjoy the space. This solution is far superior to having airport personnel fence in the area and restrict resident access.
While airport administration should be applauded for the above response, several other resident concerns remain. As a first step to potentially providing additional soundproofing for homes in the area, another noise study should be conducted. With the extended runway, more houses should now be eligible for soundproofing. Given the municipal services the City provides the airport, I would like to see the amount of money the City receives from the airport corporation in return increased. This measure is supported by the entire City Council. It also has support from our Warwick delegation at the state house.
Residents of Warwick are impacted everyday by the airport and its expansion. The airport corporation has told the City they want to be good neighbors, and the recent installment of the bollards is an example of the corporation backing up that claim. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the airport corporation to ensure residents of Warwick have their voices heard and their needs met.
City Council Ward 7