Kenner residents anxiously await public meeting on airport expansion

Kenner residents anxiously await public meeting on airport expansion

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Some residents in Kenner are anxious to attend a Tuesday evening public meeting to get an update on the planned $600 million expansion of the Louis Armstrong Airport and a nearly $8 million dollar airport access road.

People living in or near the Veteran Heights neighborhood expressed concerns about traffic and noise, but Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni said noise should not be a problem.

Yenni hopes the new terminal and road will revitalize a section of Veterans Memorial Boulevard in need of added commerce.

"If you shut your doors and turn your television up loud, or go fishing or something, that's about the only way you can get around it," said Charlotte McFall.

McFall has lived just off Veterans Boulevard on the side of the airport for two decades, and she said she knows what it's like to have an airfield as a neighbor. Now she fears the new terminal and access road will increase traffic.

"We won't be able to get out to go to anything on the other side of Veterans because of the traffic, one thing, and then so much congestion," she said.

Byron Hutson owns a house on Decatur Street in Kenner and does not want to face increased noise.

"I've been here since 1994, so I am concerned about that," Hutson said.

"There's nothing right now that I can really do to redevelop that Veterans Corridor. This new terminal moving to the north is going to redevelop that corridor," Yenni said.

He said the terminal projects will transform the area and said noise shouldn't be a problem.

"With the new road leading through the neighborhood, I mean the airport has bought out all of the homes leading into that direction, and they're going to put sound barriers down the entire road," Yenni said.

As far as traffic concerns, Yenni said that is something he's working on.

"Of course, traffic will be an issue and we will address those concerns as things happen," he said. "We're looking at that right now. We're working with the state to try to get almost $80 million for an interstate flyover to drop people off directly at the airport so it doesn't interfere with a lot of the local traffic."

Some homeowners in the vicinity said they would be not be opposed to a buyout, but they're concerned they wouldn't receive enough money for their existing home to buy a new one in today's market.

It is something McFall spoke about as she stood outside her home.

"They're out of this world," she said of current home prices.

Hutson would entertain a buyout offer, as well. He lives on one side of the house and rents the other.

"If we come to the point about selling for the right price, because when I bought this property, I bought it for part of a retirement, for extra money. But like I say, if the money is right for what they're going to offer, sure," Hutson said.

The airport said the north terminal project is meeting all deadlines, and the design is to be completed by June 30. Also, a spokeswoman provided information stating that 100 percent of the construction for the north terminal is on airport property, and access will be on the I-10/Loyola Corridor.

In terms of noise concerns, according to the airport, the north terminal project does not change the two existing runways.

The city of Kenner is overseeing the design for the access road.

The scheduled public meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Susan Park gymnasium.

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