If the city doesn’t apply for the $10 Million FAA grant for the improvements to the airport by May 1, we be screwed, and will be faced with the entire cost ourselves.
And how much will the airport cost us if we decide to close it? It looks to be about $9 million, give or take.
Rushton says we shouldn’t send the message we want to shut the airport, and should vote to accept the money.
Clancy disagrees, and wants to hold or vote down the item. He says he wishes he never voted to accept the money to build the terminal. Clancy says he will not, and will never again support accepting money for the airport until there is a firm agreement with MassPort for them to assume control.
Palmieri is quoting unnamed “political operatives” who “moved in” and told the councilors that voting against taking the money was the wrong decision. He, with Clancy, wants to hold the grant item again, but says that he knows that they don’t have four votes to do so.
Palmieri says no one in town he spoke to wants to save the airport, and that all airports are going “south, not north,” and that trains “are the future. Trains are going to be what puts this city on the map, not planes.”
“I will not vote for another nickel, not another nickel, because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the city of Worcester. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe in 20 years…”
UPDATE: Councilor Eddy: “We simply can’t afford to keep losing money at things like [the airport] and Green Hill Golf Course.” He’s supporting it, but “not with enthusiasm.” ”If we [hold] this vote, we’re saying we want to close the airport…I don’t think we’re there right now.”
8:59 UPDATE: Councilor Germain: He hasn’t made up his mind yet if it should be held or passed. ”It’s not a viable airport.”
“I wanted to hold this item for one more week…so I could make a more educated decision. Then I found out if we don’t do this by [Thursday] we lose all this money. $10 million dollars….So it forces my hand.” I am or was the 4th vote. So I become the vote that would shut this airport down or not….I would have liked some fairness or communication. I would have liked some leadership, and not be given a two day window.”
“I really wanted to hold this item,” says Germain. He wanted some information from MassPort on their plans for the airport before deciding.
Germain’s final decision? He voted no at 9:27pm.
9:02 UPDATE: City Manager Michael O’Brien: “The deadline is not something we typically have on transmittals to council.” They will going forward, he says. ”We acted fast, as quick as we could.”
9:25 UPDATE: We’re still talking about the airport, almost one hour later. Now, Lukes is listing everything it is used for: businesses, homeland security, general aviation, etc. She acknowledges we’re not negotiating on an equal level with MassPort, but says turning down the grant money is sending the absolutely wrong message to MassPort and the community. ”Refusing…these grants only makes us look like we don’t know what we’re doing.
The “yesses” carry; Germain, Palmieri, and Clancy voted no.