Save That Airport

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While airports are being sold to development interests all over the country, the residents and politicians of Hillsborough, N.J., have a different agenda for their facility. The community is banding to together to prevent closure of their little airport and to use it as a hedge against further development. "If the property is sold, it will only be a matter of time before it's rezoned for residential development and I, for one, am appalled at the overdevelopment of our township at the hands of greedy developers," said resident Martin Christie at a recent public meeting. The meeting was called to gauge public opinion after the state Department of Transportation made an offer to help the township buy the airport. The current owners are in financial trouble and may have to close it. There's already a developer in the wings, with big plans for the 110 acres of prime real estate. Meanwhile, halfway across the country in Lake in the Hills, Ill., the town has set aside more than $2 million to expand its airport. But despite that refreshing bits of news, it's business as usual as the Will County Board voted to pay a Denver consultant up to $150,000 to smooth the hackles of neighbors upset with the proposed Peotone airport near Chicago. The planned 4200-acre facility is tied to expansion plans for O'Hare International.