Neighbors Get an Earful From Akron-Canton Airport

Akron-Canton is thefastest-growing airport in the Midwest, and perhaps the country. But the expansion is starting to come at a cost to the airport's neighbors.

''In the house, everything on the walls goes crooked,'' Carolyn said. ''Oh, well, I guess it's something you have to live with and can do nothing about.''

Some airports have dealt with engine run-ups by creating a ''hush house,'' an acoustically insulated structure with three sides. Airports in Chicago, San Antonio, Indianapolis and Oakland, Calif., have hush houses. They cost about $4 million, according to the Oakland International Airport. Federal grants usually cover the cost, said Kohut, the newsletter editor.

Once again, to be eligible for the federal money, the surrounding community must exceed certain noise levels; that's not the case around Akron-Canton.

Some who live near the airport worry that another aggressive expansion will someday lead the airport to take their land through eminent domain. But Krum said they have nothing to worry about.

''The no-brainer is theeminent-domain thing,'' he said. ''That hasn't even been thought about. We have absolutely no plans to take any of those homes whatsoever. We certainly don't need it for physical expansion.''

Some also say they fear that military cargo planes will become a fixture at Akron-Canton.

Krum said such planes are there only on rare occasions. ''We really don't have a military base or anything,'' he said. ''That would be a total surprise to us.''

Krum said residents should ask him their questions rather than rely on rumors. ''We would welcome them at any time,'' he said. ''This is a public corporation, so we're not doing anything top-secret.''

That reassurance would be welcome among residents such as Casto who don't want to leave their home.

''I love it here,'' said Casto, a Byron Drive resident for 41 years. ''This is one of the prettiest places in Ohio. I would get sick if I had to move out of this house.''

Even among those who despise the noise, there is an appreciation of what Akron-Canton Airport is doing.

''It's a nice little convenient airport,'' Chiofolo said. ''But I don't want to see it getting any bigger. I do fear that it's going to adversely affect this little neighborhood here.''

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