The city of Warwick and the R.I. Airport Corporation have moved to middle ground to end the impasse over the airport expansion.
A sticking point had been the siting of two athletic fields that the runway extension was going to eliminate. Now, the City Council and the airport board have agreed to move the ball fields to the Warwick campus of the Community College of Rhode Island, a location that had been eliminated from the final environmental-impact statement.
It is a major victory for the people of Warwick, the state and the airport. CCRI is Warwick’s college. For many of us, it is more important than T.F. Green Airport. Our children go to CCRI and prepare themselves to stay here, become our families of the future. For us in Warwick, it was worth the fight.
It is clear that RIAC has proven its ability to engage businesspeople, labor and state-level elected officials to back airport expansion. Now it is time for the airport board to call on these resources to help build the ball fields at CCRI. The ball is passed to all of us to work as a team to get our children and young adults into safer grounds away from the noise, air and stress of an airport location.
As the executive director of the Greenwich Bay Watershed Group, I stand before the board of directors of the airport corporation to ask its members to go back to their businesses and personally seek out support to help us build a better community in Warwick. This is an opportunity to introduce our children to our college at an earlier age through sports.
When I was a boy, we had 4H, not softball leagues. I got to visit the University of Connecticut cow barns. I kept my ties with that school and graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Business. Our young people in Warwick value sports right along with academics, just as I valued tractor maintenance while doing OK in high school.
For RIAC to build a new sports complex at CCRI for potential students is an amazing turn of events. Let us all capitalize on this and start building a new community here in Warwick. •