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Save Our Heritage - No Fedex At Hanscom

Chitra Parayath

While the proposed expansion of FedEx operations at Hanscom Field is eliciting outrage and dismay from the communities surrounding the area, residents outside the region have not been fully informed about this move by FedEx and Massport. The proposed plans have aroused a firestorm among the local citizens, historians, preservationists and activists. But they all say that the tide of wider public opinion has to turn against Fed Ex to prevent this untoward development.

Though the giant Memphis-based cargo carrier and Massport say that the cargo operations will start with only a single plane and 28 tractor-trailer truck trips per day, both the FAA and Massport acknowledge that after initial permits are received, the subsequent growth of cargo operations is unregulated and potentially unlimited.

That is an alarming prospect to stakeholders in the integrity and sanctity of Minute Man National Park and other Historical sites in the area.

National Trust for Historic Preservation, on May 29 put the Minute Man National Historical Park and the towns of Bedford, Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln on its list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" because of Hanscom Field activities. More than 1,000 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places are within three miles of the airfield.

Two citizen groups, ShhAir and Save Our Heritage, are working to stop FedEx from coming to Hanscom.
“The commercialization and expansion of Hanscom would mean more than just noise and air pollution,” said Marty Pepper Aisenberg, Project Director, Save Our Heritage in Concord, MA when he spoke to Lokvani about the importance of preserving our historical sites.

“These are not interesting local sites that are threatened by this proposal, but rather these sites belong to all Americans, to the world! People from all over the world come to visit Minuteman Park! And we are the stewards of these important sites. Everybody needs to know of the danger. If FedEx starts up, it can expand as it wishes. And competitors can, and will, follow with their own operations. This will result in increased noise, ground traffic, and environmental pollution. The issue isn't so much one flight; it's that FedEx trucks will go barreling through the heart of the park. Once FedEx goes to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), there is no more regulatory action. This will leave the gate open forever.”

Aisenberg also said that several area businesses have canceled accounts with FedEx. The cancellation notices included provisos that “if FedEx withdraws plans to expand at Hanscom, the accounts will be reinstated”.

An administrative directive from Lexington Town Manager Richard White, dated July 30, told employees that effective August 1, 2003 the “town of Lexington will no longer be conducting, supporting or engaging in any business activities with FedEx. Any charges for processing any service from August 1, and beyond will be returned and the responsibility for payment will be incurred by the initiator. This administrative directive will remain in effect until FedEx decides to abandon its plan for use of Hanscom Airfield.”

In these times of times of concrete alienation, would protesting and raising your voice against outrageous behavior help? Save Our Heritage says yes. Every national grassroots campaign begins with local citizens reaching out. As a country, we have to be willing to make an investment in preserving our national heritage to guarantee that it can be enjoyed by our children as well.

The community activists suggest using quick online forms to fax letters to FedEx CEO Smith, Governor Romney, Senator Kennedy, and Senator Kerry urging each of them to stop plans for adding cargo operations at Hanscom Field this fall. (These forms are provided by http://www.shhair.org/).Use the quick online forms to fax letters http://www.shhair.org/actionalerts.asp

Contact ShhAir at 781-674-9755 or Save Our Heritage at 978-369-6662 for more information on how to obtain lawn signs, bumper stickers, and postcards to elected officials.
Save Our Heritage also has a booth at IAGB India Day, which you are invited to visit and learn more about this looming threat.

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