Arthur Cusano reports today on the plans for the Greenport School on Route 66. Mark Solomon and John Perri of JMS Construction, who renovated 77 North Fifth Street and 816 Warren Street as apartment buildings, are proposing what sounds like a rather grand apartment complex for the site: "Developer unveils new plans for school."
The plan, which would create 116 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, involves retaining the original 1920s school building as a "community center" and administrative offices for the complex, demolishing the 1960s addition, and constructing three new buildings, in the style of the early building. The proposed apartment complex is expected to have lots of amenities: an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis court, and 18 garage parking spaces that tenants can rent.
Also in today's Register-Star, Joe Gentile reports on last night's meeting of the airport committee, which took place in Ghent: "Airport committee moving from Meadowgreens plan." The majority of the committee, chaired by Art Bassin, seems poised to recommend to the full Board of Supervisors the alternative known as the "Porreca plan," a solution originally suggested by Greenport supervisor John Porreca. This plan would achieve the recommended runway safety area by shortening the runway from 5,350 feet, its current length, to somewhere between 4,900 and 5,000 feet.
One member of the committee, however, New Lebanon supervisor Mike Benson, has declared his opposition to any plan that would shorten the runway. Benson wasn't at the meeting last night and reportedly has missed all but one of the committee meetings, but Bassin read his written statement, which included this dire warning: "We have an opportunity to shape the future of Columbia County by providing and sustaining an asset that will pay dividends for many years to come. On the other hand, a reduction of any kind (runway length, safety, operational flexibility, or otherwise) would be, in the long term, a devastating blow and a lack of vision that can never be undone."
It's not clear exactly what Benson's vision is for the future of our green and bucolic county, but it seems to be shared by the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC). Gossips has heard the CEDC board intends to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that a plan be pursued to bring the runway safety area into compliance without shortening the runway.
An important point, brought up by Ghent resident Patti Matheney last night, which seems to get lost in all the sturm and drang about the airport, is this: There are two runways at the Columbia County Airport. One of them is already compliant with the FAA's requirements for a runway safety area. All the angst is over the second runway.