Community concerns hold up construction at Tweed New Haven Airport

The planned revitalization of Tweed New Haven Airport is having trouble achieving liftoff.

Tweed New Haven Airport Authority Chairman Mark Volchek ’00 GRD ’00 announced Friday that he will halt construction of two safety zones on Tweed’s runway for 60 days. The standstill in the $10 million project comes as Tweed officials have said they want to increase communication between the airport and community residents, many of whom have expressed unhappiness with the proposed expansion.

Simone Berkower ’09 climbs on a plane, while Jeff Muskus ’07 watches at Tweed New Haven Airport, whose renovation is facing challenges.
Ryan Galisewski
Simone Berkower ’09 climbs on a plane, while Jeff Muskus ’07 watches at Tweed New Haven Airport, whose renovation is facing challenges.

The announcement follows a recent lawsuit by many East Haven residents — including Mayor April Capone Almon — contesting a permit Volchek received from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to expand the airport into the town’s wetlands.

Construction was slated to begin Friday, but the Tweed Authority announced in a press release Friday that it would be putting on the brakes for two months in order to increase community understanding of the project.

“We want to be a good neighbor,” Volchek said in the press release. “Delivering more information to community residents will allow for a better project in the long run.”

But the permit — which Tweed Airport needs in order to continue with the expansion — may expire if the organization delays construction too long, Volcheck told the Board of Aldermen in a Feb. 7 meeting.

The Runway Safety Area Project — the name of the now-delayed project — is part of a two-pronged plan for the expansion and revitalization of the airport. The second project calls for the elimination of trees that will obstruct the projected airspace that will be added to the airport.

The two projects were announced in the Feb. 7 aldermanic meeting. Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield said then that the expansion, which has been in the planning stage for about seven years, needs to be conducted soon — or not all.

The most recent attempt at revitalization started in December of 2006. Even then, residents of East Haven, on which the airport borders, were unhappy with the expansion. At a Board of Aldermen meeting on April 20, 2007, many New Haven residents also told city officials that they were unhappy with the city’s decision to subsidize a “worthless” airport.

Still, the recent announcement suggested a potential turn-around — at least for the East Haven mayor.

According to the press release, Volcheck and Tweed Airport Authority Executive Director Timothy Larson met with Almon to discuss the project before the release was published. Almon said she is receptive to the project, as long as the community is involved.

“I look forward to starting a new dialogue with Tweed neighbors and addressing some long-held concerns about the airport,” she said in the press release. “The sooner we start to work together, the sooner we will benefit from the value the airport brings to the region.”

Comments

  • anon

    This isn't being held up, they are just giving the community a brief period to learn about the construction.

  • Ryan

    Ugh. The worse thing about Yale and New Haven (otherwise a place I love) is accessibility. We have no airport anywhere nearby. This seriously affects our competitiveness against Princeton and Harvard, both of whom have good airports relatively close by.

  • Ryan

    Ryan, Bradley is a 50 minute drive - no worse than getting to Logan or Newark in traffic. That said, expanding Tweed should be a regional priority. The entire town of East Haven should be bulldozed and the land used to build a real international airport for Connecticut.

  • @#3

    To #3,

    Yes, Bradley is only a 50 minute drive. But compared to Newark and Logan (and their university's respective proximities) it has many disadvantages.

    1) They have good public transit from campus to airport. We have Connecticut Limo, which, even with a student discount, is rather expensive and inconvenient.

    2) Newark and Logan have lots of flights to all over the world. Bradley is decent with their national flight but only has a single direct flight to Europe and none to Asia (obviously). Also, the flights out of Bradley tend to be pricier than from Newark or Logan.

    The issue of connectivity to the world is not just airports, either. You can get from Princeton to Manhattan in about 80 minutes (there's a train station right on campus) whereas here it's a 110 minute, more-expensive train ride PLUS the time and cost it takes to get from campus to union station. This is a serious problem.

  • Layhze

    I seriously doubt any prospective student would turn down Yale because there wasn't an airport close enough. There is Bradley in CT, sandwiched in between Boston and three major airports to our south. There is no need for an "international" airport. None of you apparently turned down Yale, why expect the region to foot the bill to make your transportation needs trouble free? Get over yourselves, if the time it takes to get to Union station is such a hassle transfer to Cromsonville.

  • JHC

    well said # 5,but maybe some of these Grad Students need to have an escape route that is quicker as panic starts setting in, as they feel the pangs of "Grad for Life".i think a quicker departure for Asian students who have landed jobs in Hong Kong and Shangai would be a benifit,to them

  • Anonymous

    #5 - Premise 1 is incorrect. Sorry.

  • hmm

    I almost turned down Yale because it's so darn far away from everything other than itself. And now, despite how much I love this place, I am kind of regretting coming here because of how hard it is to get anywhere but here!