A grassroots organization opposed to the expansion of Tweed New Haven Airport has been launched.
The group, 10,000 Hawks, takes its name from the migratory raptors who pass through the region. According to organizer Rachel Heerema, 10,000 Hawks will seek to call attention to the negative impacts that an airport expansion would have on the surrounding communities.
“10,000 Hawks addresses quality of life issues, including air quality, noise pollution, traffic calming, walkability, habitat, long-term thinking, and planning for our neighborhood, children, and grandchildren,” said Heerema in a statement announcing the organization’s creation.
“The immediate threat is the proposed expansion of Tweed New Haven Airport with additional runway paving and siting a new terminal in East Haven wetlands. These environmental degradations will have generational impacts.”
Heerema said that 10,000 Hawks is seeking a public meeting to highlight the details of the public-private partnership behind the airport’s expansion. The group also launched an online petition drive seeking more information on the partnership.
In May, the airport announced a facility expansion that will include a 74,000-square-foot terminal on the East Haven side of the airport, along with an extension to the runway to accommodate more commercial traffic.
AvPorts, the management company that has been in charge of operations at Tweed since 1998, will finance the expansion, which is budgeted at $70 million. It anticipates the result to include the creation of up to 11,000 jobs and $47 million a year in local and state tax revenue.
On Tuesday, an updated lease between the city of New Haven and the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority was publicly released. Among the new provisions in the lease are an extension of the airport authority’s $1-per-year lease of the city-owned airport land through June 30, 2064; a new sub-lease between the airport authority and AvPorts; the extension of the main runway from 5,600 feet to 6,635 feet long; and the gradual phasing out of the city’s annual $325,000 operating subsidy of Tweed.
The city and airport authority also presented a proposed ordinance amendment to repeal a city law prohibiting airplanes weighing over 160,000 pounds from using Tweed. The updated lease and ordinance will need to be put before a public hearing before New Haven’s board of aldermen will vote on the proposed changes.