The Business Council of Westchester recently submitted a letter on behalf of the Coalition for Westchester Airport in order to add to the draft scope for a Supplement to the Master Plan for the Westchester County Airport.
In the letter, John Ravitz, executive vice president of the BCW, stated that the group strongly suggests that a new Master Plan must support the creation of a new public/private partnership to address critical needs of the airport. In fact, he said, the firm that was recommended by the bipartisan six-member task force comprised of members of the County’s Board of Legislators in 2017 gave specific recommendations to how they would address many key issues, which included:
- Reduce the Airport’s environmental footprint.
- Make it a priority to hire and buy locally, working with local partners to support broader economic development and job creation in the county.
- Be a vigilant partner in preserving the quality of life in the communities surrounding the Airport by creating a Citizens Environmental Committee.
- Construct additional wastewater treatment capacity as a means of avoiding regulatory infraction.
- The expansion of deicing runoff protections to minimize potential contamination of the Kensico Reservoir.
- Improve controls around stormwater and general flooding.
- Create a mechanism for community involvement in the master planning process and other concerns about transparency and participation in major decisions made regarding the Airport.
- Outreach to Westchester schools and youth organizations to establish aviation education and internship programs.
- Community involvement, including business community outreach to better serve Westchester County’s aviation needs.
- Work with the Westchester County’s Department of Economic Development, including their Minority Business database to identify and engage DBE, MWBE and WBEs.
“The Coalition is looking to enhance not expand the airport by ensuring that the county works with a partner who has the resources, capacity and proven track record to make important quality of life and environmental enhancements in a transparent manner that engages the business, traveling and neighboring communities,” Ravitz said. “We cite all the above-mentioned points to emphasize that a great deal of work has already been completed to give us the answers that are needed to create a responsible Public/Private Partnership. The BCW and the Coalition for Westchester Airport strongly recommends that the County not take ten steps backward in this process, but instead embrace the exciting and important enhancements that can be developed.”