TF Green to build longer runway, displacing homeowners - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

TF Green to build longer runway, displacing homeowners

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From the outside you can see it's the only home left standing on Gertrude Avenue in Warwick. Only one homeowner has spent the past few decades refusing to give up where he grew up.

"We've kept it in the family for memory's sake, and people don't realize you can't put a price on memories," said Bob Coutu.

Coutu's house is a living memoir to the past 60-some odd years.

Next September, Coutu will join 65 other homeowners in Warwick in giving up his home. They're being bought out by the Rhode Island Airport Corp. to make room for a longer runway at T.F. Green Airport.

"To provide larger planes here, more flight frequency, more destinations. So, it will really be a win-win. We're excited," said Kelly Fredericks, president and chief executive of the RIAC.

Fredericks presented the plan to shareholders Tuesday morning. He expects the runway will accommodate larger airlines and bring in 5 million passengers a year, adding flights to the West Coast, Europe and parts of the Caribbean.

"We're excited about the opportunity to recapture that lost traffic and see it grow," Fredericks said.

It isn't just the 65 homes south of the airport off Main Avenue that will be affected. To expand the runway, the airport will have to reroute Main Avenue, diverting traffic from a main drag for a year-and-a-half. Additionally, 564 homes in the area will have to be sound-proofed.

"There aren't many east-west passages in the city of Warwick, and that will definitely cause some confusion," Mayor Scott Avedisian said.

The main concern, Fredericks told shareholders, is expanding in a peaceful manner. It appears so far that part has been successful.

Even Coutu, who didn't want to leave, doesn't have a bad thing to say about the plan.

"They've been very good. I have nothing against them. We understand progress has to be made," Coutu said.

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