Airport would undermine town
Jun 13, 2013 | 2921 views | 13 13 comments | 324 324 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the Editor,

I have read with interest various news reports covering the proposal by Jim Barnes to expand the Mount Snow Airport. Each report stated or implied that an expanded airport would have a benefit to all. I couldn’t disagree more. The most valuable asset in all of Wilmington is the bucolic, peaceful setting of this small town.

An active airport in the middle of town with its attendant noise, air pollution, and lighting would upset the very essence of what we love about Wilmington. The notion that people who could, would fly in and fly out for day trips is exactly the sort of use of the airport that would leave those who value the beauty of Wilmington ruing the day that the decision was made to provide private enterprise with the means to change the town in a way that undermined its very nature.

Make no mistake, I am for the rehabilitation of Wilmington and for redevelopment of the Haystack ski resort. I am simply against a proposal that goes too far. How many flights a day would it take to ruin the days of so many residents and second-home owners? What about evening flights? Night flights? With no limitations and no way to enforce the number of flights and times of day when planes could fly, are we not handing over the keys to the quality of life of residents and second home owners for the primary benefit of a minority of people? At what expense to all the rest of us? The very idea that this airport could bring meaningful commerce to Wilmington underscores that the cost of that commerce would be the destruction of the DNA of the town. Rebuild the town. Build it better. But I urge our town government to pledge not to give away the future to accommodate several people or families who may want to ski Haystack Mountain.

Jackie White

Wilmington

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beaverpond
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June 14, 2013
It is undeniable that no one is working harder than Jim Barnes to bring a new swell of tourists, golfers, skiers, in short people who will spend money, to the valley. According to his recent letter to members and prospective members, this summer will see golf trips, corporate memberships, meet & greets in several northeast locations, the awards gala for the ITV Fest and even a dinner event with Meryl Streep! Current plans have guests arriving and departing from Bennington and Keene airports as well as the Mt. Snow airport which he has already purchased. He will be repaving the runway shortly. In addition, an application to expand the runway from the existing 2,600 feet to 4,400 feet has been filed. I submit that the three existing airports can support his future plans. Obviously, people will still come without the airport expansion; he has already planned all of these events without the expansion approval in place. I support Jim Barnes and his efforts but I would not want to lose sight of our roots. The existing airport is up and running. Hurray for that. But handing over the keys without oversight has the whiff of letting the wolf guard the hen house. Let us not become the next Jay Peak. We will have no one to blame but ourselves.
aprho
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June 14, 2013
I might analogize to Atlantic City....casinos were built which did nothing for the town, education, the underprivileged, etc. They did employ croupiers however.
pbyoukil
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June 14, 2013
I could not disagree more that the "airport would undermine the town." What the town(s) (Dover and Wilmington) need above all else is revenue, commerce, sales, restaurant and bar patrons, etc...

The ONLY thing a larger or upgraded airport will bring, is more people, who have $$$ to spend. Wouldn't it be nice if a plane full of 10 people flew in for a weekend and those 10 people went out for countless meals, bought goods from our stores and contributed to the local economy. How does that undermine a town?

I think the only thing that is undermining the town, is the attitude that ANY development is bad development. I don't agree that we build the next Laguardia Airport, but everyone knows that will not be the case. We should be doing everything we can do to bring as many people to the valley to contribute to the local economy...

aprho
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June 14, 2013
It's pretty clear that the original letter as well as my comments are being distorted. Both are supportive of development. Both are against not having parameters which this town could reasonably impose but is choosing not to. A plane with 10 people landing at 10:00 a.m. who purchase countless meals would be nice. 20 planes with one person each landing at midnight would not be. The point is we can have it both ways. We can improve the town and not leave the regulation of the flights and how disruptive it may be in the hands of people who's simple goal is to get to Haystack when they feel like. I do disagree that the only thing a larger airport will bring is more people....it will bring a diminution in quality of life if done wrong. As a separate point, it's not even clear that it will bring more people. It may just bring different people who fly in instead of drive in.
TFV
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June 13, 2013
DITTO on the first comment - you are apparently an "old foggie" who wants to stop progress and ecenomic developement in an area where it is badly needed.

THE AIRPORT would not be in the middle of town and I do not see that many flights daily!!Be thankful that someone sees the area as a place to develop air traffic!!

Get with the program and let Wilmington, Dover, Haystack & Snow prosper - it for the good of all and not for your selfish needs - TV
aprho
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June 13, 2013
Don't want to stop progress at all. In fact, I agree with the letter...I am for development of the town and Haystack. I am against expanding the airport because it will negatively affect quality of life without creating jobs. Whether the airport is in the center is a silly point but I guess it's the best one you can make. You certainly haven't explained how the airport expansion will bring any benefit. You seem to just assume it and incorrectly. On the other hand, its obvious how an expanded airport can detract from the town. Wilmington is not a manufacturing town. The notion that it will be is simply ludicrous.
aprho
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June 13, 2013
Btw, wanting to keep the beauty of the town intact while it redevelops is not selfish and bothering to post views here should illustrate that I care, notwithstanding that my views are different than yours.
areader2
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June 14, 2013
no wonder every other place in this community is for sale, just why to these greedy money grubbin "people" move up here only to try to turn this area into the hellhole they moved here from, and when someone disagrees with them they are called selfish?

sadly this is a place of great natural beauty, it's these new "VTers" who suck

if you want to live like jersey then stay in jersey!
e92v8luvr
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June 14, 2013
Since when does wanting to support your family make one a money grubber??!!!

That statement is clearly written by someone who sits home and collects checks or is quite happy to live at the poverty level
e92v8luvr
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June 13, 2013
I beg to differ. So far, bucolic and peaceful has done nothing to provide jobs or commerce to this area, things that we need more than anything to survive. At this point, where we are dying a slow death, we should welcome any additional exposure we can get. I'd also like to point out that the airport is far from the center of Wilmington, and that most homes neighboring came AFTER the airport was made. I'd also like to know just how much "attendant noise and air pollution" is really going to be created by "several people or families who may want to ski Haystack"? Is it going to be scads of flights and people or just a few? The DNA of this town left when the manufacturing did a hundred years ago. Now we are just another tourist town trying to hold on to the past. I mean do you really think the skys over the valley are going to be full of noisy planes all the time? We could only hope so.
aprho
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June 13, 2013
What is it that you beg to differ with? That Wilmington's greatest asset is its bucolic setting? That flights in and out, even ten times a day would be disruptive, let alone any time of day and unlimited in number?That an expanded airport is not needed to bring jobs? Haystack will be developed with or without an expanded airport. Whether the airport is in the center of town or not is irrelevant. Wilmington is small. Planes fly to get to airports causing disruption; more so in residential areas. You think the DNA of the town is manufacturing because a hundred years ago manufacturing left? Gee whiz. We clearly have different views. In any event, perhaps you can explain what new jobs are only coming with an expanded airport or how this airport is reinvigorating manufacturing.
e92v8luvr
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June 14, 2013
The airport is there allready! It needs people to mow the grass, plow the snow, keep the terminal building operational. There are a host of other activities that could go on there if the surface was in better shape. There used to be an airshow that brought people in from all over. They paid to stay and eat at local establishments. Do you need more examples of its benifits? How about this, next time theres a natural disaster there would be a nearby place for National Guard ect to utilize. Wilmington being a place of manufacturing is ludicrous. What is Wilmington? A tourist town plain and simple. A town that needs more visitors. If I had to guess Aprho, you don't need to work in this town to survive.....
aprho
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June 14, 2013
I'm not objecting to repairing the airport or allowing you to cut the grass of the repaired airport. I'm objecting to the town providing the land to expand it. The difference in job creation is nonexistent. And is that the manufacturing and industry you are seeking here? Extra grass cutting at an airport. The number of homes built at Haystack won't change with the EXPANDED airport. You can have plenty of work w/o more planes. The condition on providing land for expansion should be restriction on use so what's good about Wilmington is not lost. Perhaps the airport should be expanded to allow jumbo jets....our dispute is over where to draw lines. This is not personal. You are entitled to your view. I suspect it has prevailed based on all reports that I've heard.