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Great Barrington Locals Open Petition to Retain Airport

Another Battle for a Small Airport Takes Place in Massachusetts

A small local airport in Great Barrington, Massachusetts is under fire in the traditional method, with local bodies looking to close the Walter J. Koladza Airport (KGBR).

Friends of the Great Barrington Airport have opened a petition seeking to maintain the airport, and they're looking for signatures to bolster their numbers. If successful, the group will obtain a permit for the private airport to continue operations for the next 100 years. The group says that Barrington has been "targeted with legal action in Boston Land Court for probable closure by private citizens who seem to want to stop it from operating".

Those looking to close the airport are said to be "backed by huge private financial and legal resources that the airport and town cannot match," playing out an increasingly common story. As sprawl extends further outside of metro areas around the country, formerly uninteresting and out-of-the-way airports are quickly becoming tasty meat for developers and real estate investors. Step one in freeing up the considerable space of even a modest airport? Ending flight operations. (The last step always seems to be the eternal metastasis of perennially empty strip malls, sprawling department store parking lots, and a rotation of 5 "fast-casual" eateries for whatever reason.)

"This isn't much different than trying to fight a farmer with the right to farm law," said one supporter, describing the issue. "These neighborhoods that came in after the airport was established, knew their location and proximity to the airport and flight patterns. Shame on them for trying to argue that they have a right to shut a business down because they are dissatisfied. Shame on them for trying to hinder the learning and lifeline that an airport, in an otherwise remote area, offers them. It's too bad they are willing to hurt the economy of their neighbors and their township by bringing legal action against the rights of the airport."

FMI: (May not be online),


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