Airport board wants answers - Sentinel & Enterprise

Full story: Sentinel & Enterprise

City airport commissioners say they're frustrated with what they say is a lack of communication with the city over lingering issues.
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1 - 20 of 62 Comments Last updated Jan 6, 2011
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Reality

Palo Alto, CA

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#1
Dec 31, 2010
 
Going straight to the press probably doesn't help!
I'm not sure you'll get much sympathy from the general public either.
All government spending is coming under review. Might this project get scrapped?
Close the Airport

West Brookfield, MA

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#2
Dec 31, 2010
 
Those greey bossy little airport people are at it again! THERE HAS TO BE A WAY TO CLOSE THE AIRPORT DOWN. Fitchburg can use the land for something else, even if it just sits empty for birds to roost! This is a horrible tax waste of taxpayer money and it is only used by a couple of mouthy people that think they OWN the airport and want to cause trouble.
Just Facts

United States

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#3
Dec 31, 2010
 
Typical politics from the Fitchburg politicians. They are angry that the FAA is calling them on their improper taking of the land and so they will do whatever they can to screw up any improvements they can at the airport.

Ultimately, the city will have to pay for the land, so they need to play nice with the FAA and the airport. If the Fitchburg politicians think they can win against a Federal Agency, they are wrong.

It will be fun to watch Mayor Wong get this shoved up....well you know. Her power plays are getting pretty sickening. It is time she learns to play nice in the sandbox.

Since: Apr 09

Leominster

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#4
Dec 31, 2010
 
Just close it down and sell off the property. Don't the taxpayers in Fitchburg get tired of funding an airport that most of them have never been into? Plus it seems every year or so one of the planes goes down and if lucky only kills those on board, if not then it goes into a building or house! No airport, no problem! Plane owners can move their junk to Sterling airport!
David Reinhart

Worcester, MA

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#5
Dec 31, 2010
 
Close the Airport wrote:
Those greey bossy little airport people are at it again! THERE HAS TO BE A WAY TO CLOSE THE AIRPORT DOWN. Fitchburg can use the land for something else, even if it just sits empty for birds to roost! This is a horrible tax waste of taxpayer money and it is only used by a couple of mouthy people that think they OWN the airport and want to cause trouble.
OK, let's go over it one more time. First, the airport does not cost the city money. It's daily operations are self-supporting from fuel sales, hangar rentals, etc. I believe it is the only city department that can make that claim and it is one of very few municipal airports in the country that is in that enviable position.

Second, closing the airport down requires a number of conditions to be met, none of which are likely to happen. The first is that the FAA has to agree that closing the airport will generate a net benefit to aviation. That is unlikely in the extreme. But assuming the city gets the FAA on board, the city would still have to come up with large amounts of cash to compensate airport tenants, among them the people who bought the new condo hangars. Their contract calls for a buy-out at fair market value plus large penalties. All in all, we're talking millions of dollars.

Third, why in this economic climate would the city want to put 60-plus people out of work? There are multiple private companies on the airport who employ people, pay taxes, and thereby generate economic activity for the city. Why put them out of work? To build another industrial park that will sit empty for years?

As to "owning the airport" there's something you need to understand. Both the city and the airport commission are creations of the State. The city got its charter from the legislature and airport commissions are authorized by the state under Chapter 90 of the General Laws. Under that law the airport commission has "the care and custody" of the airport even though the city may hold title to the land. The commission is responsible for running the airport in a safe manner while abiding with all federal and state regulations. Under FAA guidelines, that includes being as self-sufficient as possible, a goal that the airport has met for many years.

What Fitchburg's residents should be asking for is an opportunity to get the city solicitor and his assistant under oath and ask them for a detailed explanation of why they think the very same grant assurances signed by 43 other airport sponsors in Massachusetts, the same ones signed by earlier Fitchburg administrations, are suddenly unacceptable. I remind you that the current city solicitor held that position when the land transfers that are now being questioned took place and I have yet to hear a good explanation of why he approved them.
Steam Pipe Sam

Gardner, MA

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#6
Dec 31, 2010
 
Facts:
1. The land was taken in the wrong fashion.
Don't close the airport, expand. I can fly into alot of small areas, because they have commuter flight companies.
Either give it up, or expand into an airport that everyone can use. Now there's an idea!!!
Just Facts

United States

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#7
Dec 31, 2010
 
lhearold wrote:
Just close it down and sell off the property. Don't the taxpayers in Fitchburg get tired of funding an airport that most of them have never been into? Plus it seems every year or so one of the planes goes down and if lucky only kills those on board, if not then it goes into a building or house! No airport, no problem! Plane owners can move their junk to Sterling airport!
We do not provide funding to the airport, it operates on federal money and profits made from selling fuel as well as other things. Fitchburg improperly took land from the airport and needs to pay for it. The airport provides value to local companies that use it and they shouldn't be negatively impacted because of your ignorance.

The land would require major money thrown at it to build commercial property that isn't needed because of all of the available property already...thank goodness the city cannot just do away with the airport and cooler heads will prevail.
Just Facts

United States

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#8
Dec 31, 2010
 
Mr. Reinhart,

You are wasting your energy trying to educate people that have no intention of understanding the facts. You might consider spending your energy on getting to the bottom of the issues that Fitchburg faces regarding their improper taking of the land.

In any case...some of us understand and appreciate the value that the airport brings to our area, even if we do not use the airport personally.
Waste of time

Schaumburg, IL

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#9
Dec 31, 2010
 
David Reinhart provides a clear explanation; thank you.

Beyond that, is there really any point in one government agency suing another government agency? The wastewater treatment plant will not be razed to give the land back to the airport. Making the city pay just puts more stress on a local budget. If the payment is "punishment," doesn't that seem a little pointless to do to a government body? The people who were responsible for the improper decision are no longer part of the city administration; I think someone pointed out earlier that some of them are dead. What's the point?
Options

Leominster, MA

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#10
Dec 31, 2010
 
It's a wonderfull large flat streach of land. Why not build baseball and soccer feilds on it? Everyone would win, the kids, the city, even the restaurant would more than triple it's money. The best part would be no more 50 year old airplanes buzzing over roof tops looking for a place to crash.
Get Rid Of the Airport

West Brookfield, MA

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#11
Dec 31, 2010
 
I agree it's only a matter of time before ANOTHER small plane crashes and more people are killed!!!! TAXPAYERS DO NOT WANT AN AIRPORT IN FITCHBURG!!!
Options vary

Lowell, MA

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#12
Dec 31, 2010
 
Yeah, that will be a boon for the city! A new place for drug deals, rape, gang fights. EXCELLENT IDEA! Oh and who pays for the upkeep. I know we'll charge the parents of the kids that use it. Well, until they get sick of paying for it then it will turn into a hay field and voila! here come the gangs, drugs, homeless, and they don't cost the taxpayers more money in police or anything like that.

The airport is a HUGE contributor to the economic engine of ALL the surrounding communities. We have people ply into there at least twice a month for meetings and product review.
Keep the airport, keep pushing to resolve the issue, and push Mayor Ding-Wong out of office, and clean house in City Hall
Just Facts

United States

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#13
Dec 31, 2010
 
Waste of time wrote:
David Reinhart provides a clear explanation; thank you.
Beyond that, is there really any point in one government agency suing another government agency? The wastewater treatment plant will not be razed to give the land back to the airport. Making the city pay just puts more stress on a local budget. If the payment is "punishment," doesn't that seem a little pointless to do to a government body? The people who were responsible for the improper decision are no longer part of the city administration; I think someone pointed out earlier that some of them are dead. What's the point?
Waste,

The city of Fitchburg has been playing games with the airport and are finally being "called on the carpet". If the Fitchburg politicians hadn't been such @ holes about trying to take from the airport or shut it down, this issue might have remained unknown. They are getting what they deserve fro trying another power grab...so be it.

If Fitchburg took land that didn't belong to them to use it for their own purpose, they need to pay for it...plain and simple. If this is allowed, they will just seize whatever they want when they want with no thought of consequences.

Time for the BS from the Fitchburg politicians to stop. Bottom line is that the FAA controls the decisions regarding the closing of an airport once it is established and that ain't gonna happen.

Mayor Wong is just playing games and will not win.
Options

Leominster, MA

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#15
Dec 31, 2010
 
My bad.It was just a thought I had and Lancaster seems to be doing ok. Hundreds of kids running around kicking a ball in the wrong goal with their parents watching could never be as profitable as people flying in twice a month. Sure they may want food, beverages and icecream. But some people fly in twice a month and order a sandwich.
Just Facts

United States

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#16
Dec 31, 2010
 
Options.

The soccer fields in Lancaster are close enough for people from this area to go for that type of thing. Why should every town or city install the same thing? What is wrong with Lancaster handling the influx of people that want to play soccer and leaving the airport in place to serve the local needs for aviation?

Maybe you need to stretch your view of the variety of needs for individuals and business too. If we were to see the airport go, that is just one more reason for some businesses not to come here.

The airport isn't just about a few individuals with planes. There are businesses that use it too.
Tragic

Leominster, MA

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#17
Dec 31, 2010
 
I hope they receive the Grant money. On one side of the fence trying to provide clean water to the city on the other side you can pay $50 and ride in an old airplane. I've been on Airport road and the traffic is bad. So many people trying to catch a flight.
The great Oz

Portland, ME

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#19
Dec 31, 2010
 
Plain and simple, the mayor doesn't have a plane so the airport is useless. She has no power over the airport and its staff, so she has to prove she has power over all that she rules. She is the great and powerful Oz. She won't win this one so the grant assurances will be held as her power grab.
Not a pilot

Clinton, MA

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#20
Dec 31, 2010
 
It seems that the existence of a quasi-independent Airport Commission really galls Mayor Wong so she's going to punish the airport by stonewalling. Unfortunately, the feds and the law are on the side of the airport and sooner or later she's going to lose. So, hey, Madame Mayor, why don't you just cut the crap and play nice so Fitchburg can move on? You'll look like a conciliatory hero and everybody will be happy. Right now you look like a petty small-time hack politician, not the leader of a city. I really though you were better than that.

Oh, and there are some real hateful morons posting on this board.
Herbie

Fitchburg, MA

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#23
Dec 31, 2010
 
Mr. Reinhart needs to do his homework.....The airport DOES cost the city money...
Joe

Gardner, MA

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#24
Dec 31, 2010
 
It seems to me that one answer would be to vote in a new mayor next election. The airport isn't the only dept that doesn't get a response from City Hall.

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