I’m a volunteer treasurer of the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority and a neighbor of the airport. When I bought my home, I knew the airport was in the neighborhood. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always found the airport’s location “interesting”, and when I first moved in I did ask the question, “Why did they build an airport in the middle of a residential neighborhood?” I know it’s a common question that many of my neighbors have asked as well.
The answer to this question lies in the history books. Back in 1922, 220 acres of land were purchased for the city of New Haven to build an airport. That land was in a very rural area at the time. Nine years later, when the airport opened in 1931, it still had very few neighbors. After World War II, the populations of New Haven and East Haven began to boom and developers built homes wherever they could find available land. In time, an entire neighborhood developed around the airport. So to be fair, the question we should be asking ourselves is, “Why did they build a neighborhood around an airport?”
As a vital asset to the community, it is directly responsible for over 70 jobs held by New Haven and East Haven residents while generating over $55 million in economic impact to the region. The Tweed New Haven Airport Authority always tries to be a good corporate citizen, investing in its neighborhood however it can. Over the past several years it has done some remarkable work, spending millions for the community and for safety improvements at the airport.
I should know, I pay the bills.
We rebuilt and now manage the tide gate operation on Morris causeway that gives protection against rising tide in coastal storms, in addition to giving several neighbors relief and drier basements; some have been able to get rid of their sump pumps entirely as a result. We have a voluntary vegetation mitigation program that trims and removes trees and other impediments to the runway safety area; we have worked with and compensated over 100 homeowners in this program. In recent years the airport conducted noise studies to identify homes that might be impacted by the sound of aircraft. Through that study the airport identified 184 homes that abut the airport and fall into a noise contour that may qualify them to have their homes sound-insulated with new windows, doors, insulation, heating and air conditioning systems at NO charge. The cost estimate to complete these improvements is in excess of $6,000,000 and will be paid for by the airport.
We also participate in local civic organizations and chambers of commerce. We open the airport for education tours and provide our facility for local meetings. The airport supports MADD, the Saint Bernadette carnival and the East Haven Rotary. It has always been the goal of the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority to continue to reinvest in the community that supports us while providing a great value to our customers. I am very proud to be part of what we are doing here.
Kevin Arnold is treasurer of the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority.