April 2, 2009
By Sarah Brown
Voters in Plainville, Conn., elected to “save Robertson Field” by voting yes on a March 31 referendum that allows the town to purchase the airport, a move that will ensure its continued operation as an airport.
The 1,432-to-791 vote authorizes the town to spend approximately $96,396 to purchase the airport from the current private owner; the rest of the $7.7 million purchase price will be paid with federal and state funding. Transferring the property from private to public ownership will preserve open space and head off potentially burdensome residential development, and using federal funds for the purchase binds the field to operate as an airport in perpetuity.
“Plainville residents have shown that they have tremendous confidence in Robertson Field’s potential to enrich the community and expand economic opportunities in the area,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airports. “AOPA has worked hard to inform residents about the contributions the airport can make to the town, and they responded by supporting this purchase by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.”
Robertson Field, established in 1911, is the state’s oldest airport. To support the airfield, AOPA purchased ads in local newspapers and notified area pilots of the upcoming vote. As an additional gesture of support, the Let’s Go Flying SR22 traveled to the airport March 21 and took center stage at an open house designed to show Plainville residents the types of aircraft and future economic benefits they can expect by preserving the airport. More than 2,000 people attended the open house.
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