Residents Don’t Want Runway Open After Willow Grove Air Base Closes

HORSHAM, Pa. (CBS) – Signs are popping up in communities surrounding the soon-to-be shuttered Willow Grove Naval Air Station, as a grassroots effort opposing a commercial airport at the base appears to be picking up steam.

The signs are promoting a new website and a new grassroots organization called’s a group of several hundred area residents opposed to keeping the runway open when the military pulls out of Willow Grove later this year.

Resident Dennis Mulligan says the people who live in the area want a say in what goes on the nearly 900 acres of property and many of them don’t want commercial planes.

“There are 133 general use airports in the state, and frankly we don’t want to be 134, nor do we want to be a feeder airport for Philadelphia International,” he said. “So it’s a safety concern.”

The Bucks County Airport Authority, which operates airports in Doylestown and Quakertown and Montgomery County, each submitted proposals expressing an interest in the runway. A final decision on what will happen to the land is still several months away.

Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio

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One Comment

  1. MAD HATTER says:

    These people who say they live in Horsham and are for the airport are LIARS. We will see how many RESIDENTS are for an airport on June 10th and 11th.What RESIDENTS would want air, NOISEand water pollution not to mention crashing property values. Traffic would be less because of the planned roads through the base. The people that are for the base are pilots and GREEDY business park developers and owners who do not want further development because they will make less $

  2. wreckrider says:

    WHERE ARE THE “NO MORE TRAFFIC CONGESTION’ SIGNS? when you get your wish for no airport and they build more housing and mc mansions and strip malls and eateries you will be crying, omg…there’s to much traffic, it takes me forever just to go to starbucks, you’ll be whining just like you are now, because same as you didn’t think about the consequences of moving next to a military airport (OMG Loud Large Planes…those damn C-130 going out to bring back our war dead or supply the troops) you ain’t thinking about the traffic more housing will bring and more strip malls will bring.

  3. H w/a P says:

    You are right, apples and oranges, the military aircraft are much louder then the civilain ones. The military ones were much more frequetn then the civil ones would be. The funny thing is last time I checked the Navy DC-9s that were based at Willow Grove are the same ones flown by the airlines. Also, a Navy C-40 is just a Boeing 737. Hmm, both flew out of Willow Grove, did anyone care then? Also, did anyone notice the Southwest 737s that were in and out of Willow Grove about 20 times in the past 2 years? Did anyone notice the Delta 747s? Did anyone notice the World Airlines DC-10s? Did anyone notice any of the airliners taking troops out? No. But when the base can become a civilian airport it’s the end of the world, come on people. (those who are against the civilian use of the airport) Funny thing is, on the north side of the airport there are $500-600k homes facing the runway, with their front yars having a great view of the base. The realtors apparently told the home buyers that the base wasn’t active. Come on, do some research and face the consequences of moving in next to an airport and being able to see if from your front lawn. Only reason I speak of these homes is because that development had “No Airport In Horsham” signs sprinkled around. Think about this, move in next to a jail it could become a maximum security prison in 5 years, but people have enough common sense to think about that one.

    1. SB says:

      Please note my response… I didn’t say anything about the planes.. I mentioned the base’s past use, and it’s (possible) future use. The QUANTITY of air traffic may increase, and the base property may become substantially more developed, resulting in more congestion and other problems.

  4. Idiotmitten says:

    One of these mornings you will find out that Horsham has torn up the runway the same way Mayor Daly in Chicago tore up the Meigs Filed runway in the middle of the night.

  5. Spalding says:

    I live in Horsham ,less than a mile from the base.I am sick of anti-airport fanatics telling us what is best. What is best for Horsham Council, politicians and land developers is not always the right plan.
    This is sad that a once proud military town sold out to developers.They said they fought to save the base in 2005 ,more like back room deals telling the BRAC to close the base.Horshame thought they could out perform the Navy and spent a ton of money fighting the State,Teva Pharm. and now Mont. and Bucks counties.

    If you want to do business in Horsham you got to pay to play!

  6. robertg says:

    If people want a say in what goes there then those people had better put up the money and buy the land. Otherwise they have no right to say what the land is used for.

  7. williejoe says:

    There is a section 8 housing development coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

  8. Paul says:

    Civilian planes put out far fewer decibels than A-10s. I’d like to have a commuter airport closer than PHL or ABE (or whatever they call Lehigh Valley these days). Let opponents vocalize but let taxpayers decide.

  9. kelprod says:

    I am a lifelong resident of Horsham and currently own a home in the upper end of the township. Make no mistake, there is a vocal, but minority, group opposing the airport. They certainly do not speak for me or most of my neighbors. We would love to see a small, first class, commerical airport to serve as an alternative to PHL, which is a world class dump and full of congestion, lousy employees, filth and is waaay overpriced. As a resident of Horsham, I would love to see a study done on the tax relief which our township could derive from such an airport….my guess is that such a study would show a pot of gold from not only the airport itself, but all of the support business that come with such an airport. The problem we have is that our township commissioners “are in bed” with the no airport minority and are trying everything possible to get rid of that valubale runway. Sorry, give us a first class, small airport and the cash that comes with it…we do not need anymore houses, offices, industrial or retail. And parkland or a “town square” does nothing for tax revenue. And for those who say that a commercial airport is a safety concern, please rememebr that WGNAS has had major crashes averaging about once every 10 years…I don’t believe they are crashing airplanes at that rate down at PHL. So, please, bring on Delta connect, US Air express and American Eagle. It is easily the best viable alternative not only for Horsham, but for the region as a whole.

  10. trueism says:

    It should really be a decision approved by the involved TAXPAYERS in the community. It could be a huge tax relief realized for them all, if it were an exclusive Airport for quieter turbofan engines used by UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL.. It’s so close to many Interstate highways and Industrial Parks. Let the voters decide, perhaps by allowing one Interstate Carrier, like UPS, to try it for one year. See how everyone can benefit and if it’s worth keeping, before they lose that chance forever?

  11. SB says:

    Believe me, they wouldn’t like it here. Put them on reservations in areas that have already been infested, it would be better for everyone.

  12. Keith says:

    Airports are vital to the health of a community. Continuing airport operations would either create or maintain jobs. Plus the current infrastructure will attract business. Those who are looking to destroy the airport are self-centered and short sighted.

  13. Guess Who says:

    Finally they’ll get some peace and quiet. Aircraft from that airport fly over my house from time to time and it’s no picnic.

  14. JFP says:

    Watch out there folks,you don’t want to wind up with a 900 acre section 8 apartment complex. The “democrats” love having a nice big area to blight and destroy.

  15. H Jones says:

    One simple fact that no one wants to take into consideration, the airport was there before most of the residents were. So whatever happens, happens… as they were well aware of the NAS being there prior to them moving into the area.

    1. SB says:

      The military’s use of the base in the time it has been there is a much, much different thing from a commercial airport’s use of that base. Apples and oranges.

  16. Ben Franklin says:

    The people who oppose an airport in Horsham should be forbidden from using Philadelphia International Airport. They can drive or swim to wherever they’re going.

  17. Peter says:

    The Bucks County Airport Authority … each … ???? Who else submitted a proposal?


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