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Hartford City Council looks into closing Brainard Airport

VIDEO: Possible redevelopment of Brainard Airport in Hartford
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 5:36 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - The City of Hartford is looking into the idea of closing Brainard Airport and redeveloping the area.

Some are raising a red flag over what redevelopment plans would mean for the environment.

The Hartford-Brainard Airport is situated on 201 acres of land right next to the Connecticut River and interstates 84 and 91.

Councilman John Gale said, “it’s got a tremendous amount of infrastructure built around it and it’s being tremendously underutilized

Last fall, the Hartford City Council passed a resolution to explore the idea of closing the airport and redeveloping the area.

City council members want to see if the land can be repurposed into a marina with restaurants, apartments and stores.

It would also increase tax revenue for the city.

Councilman James Sanchez said, “we have to do our job in making sure we can move Hartford forward in a positive manner.”

But Mike McGarry, Chairman of the Greater Hartford Flood Control Commission, says he has significant concerns about the site potentially being redeveloped.

“The land they’re talking about has big problems with tow drains where the water comes into from both coming down the hill and leaking under the dike,” said McGarry.

He’s raising a red flag over what redevelopment would mean for the land.

“Anything you build there is in danger of washing away or causing water to come in to all that land,” said McGarry.

Under its resolution the Hartford City Council created a new task force called SMART.

It stands for South Meadows Area Redevelopment Taskforce and will study environmental and feasibility issues.

“Not only do we have a fiduciary responsibility, but safety comes first. And I don’t think anyone, speaking for my council colleagues, would do anything to jeopardize anyone’s safety, particularly if there were issues, we found during feasibility studies,” said Councilman Nick Lebron.