For Warwick Residents, Airport Expansion Just A Part Of Life

Oct 2, 2017

T.F. Green Airport
Credit RIPR FILE

State officials will celebrate the completion of a multi-million dollar runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport on Monday. Previous expansions raised the ire of some residents and city officials, who cited concerns about noise and environmental pollution. But these days, plenty of Warwick residents don’t seem to mind.

Between a grocery store and a Dunkin’ Donuts just south of T.F. Green, many residents say the airport’s continued growth is part of life in the state’s second-largest city.

Monica Debrosca lived in the path of one of the most recent runway expansions. She had to move out of her home of nearly five decades to make way for the construction, but she harbors no ill feelings.

“They helped me,” said Debrosca. “They paid moving costs. They were very, very generous. So it wasn’t a hardship, except for the fact that I had been there for 49 years and I really didn’t want to leave.”

“I grew up in that neighborhood,” said Nikki Johnston, who now lives in West Warwick. “It just looks weird you look over there and none of the houses are there. That’s about it though.”

In fact, Debrosca is happy to see the airport grow.

“I think it’s good for the state, I really do,” said Debrosca. “They’re bringing in more airlines. I know I have a daughter who lives in Connecticut. And whenever she flies, she comes here to Green to take her flights, so all in all, I think it worked out really well.”

Some of Debrosca’s fellow residents agree. T.F. Green, a once-struggling airport, has made a big push in recent years to expand destination offerings, including international service.

“It’s good for the economy,” said Roger Paquette, who lives a few neighborhoods away from the airport. “Warwick needs it. Rhode Island needs it.”

“I was all for it, personally,” said resident Matthew Forcier. “Because I wasn’t even living out here at the time and now that I see it done, and it brings in the larger aircraft, it’s just a better deal for everybody really.”

As for the noise, Monica Debrosca says, when you live this close to the airport, you get used to the sound of planes overhead.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Debrosca. “You want to know why? I was used to it. It didn’t bother me when I was in my other house because we had gotten so used to it that half the time I didn’t even know that they were going over.”

Kristin Papa, who has managed the Dunkin’ Donuts for more than a decade, said she just tunes out the din.

“It’s just normal,” said Papa. “Once in a while you might be home and you’ll be like, ‘hold on, I can’t hear you right now,’ if you’re on the phone. It’s just so normal, cause I’ve lived here my whole life.”