Paulding County airport protesters crowd meeting, demand answers - CBS46 News

Paulding County airport protesters crowd meeting, demand answers

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DALLAS, GA (CBS46) -

A standing room-only audience greeted the Paulding County Airport Authority as it convened for its monthly meeting Wednesday morning. Many people in the crowd wore blue shirts, a sign of solidarity in protesting the commercialization of the Paulding County airport.

"The most important thing is that we bring attention to the citizen voices that are opposed to this," said Cathy Helms, a resident of Paulding County who opposes the commercialization of the airport.

"I believe people will reach out and do what's necessary to be heard."

Because of the way airport authority meetings are structured, public comment is not allowed unless requested a week in advance. Airport director Blake Swafford said no one made that request in time, so there was no public comment permitted from the protesters who came out to make their voices heard Wednesday.

"We can't put (our board members) in a position where they're expected to show up at a meeting and address something they haven't had a chance to prepare for," said Swafford. "We're not going to be able to adjust our agenda and our work schedule with zero notice."

The roughly 20 protesters stayed after the meeting was over to hold their own impromptu rally, for which Swafford also stayed to listen and speak with people.

Despite three lawsuits having been filed against the FAA and the Paulding Airport Authority in connection with the commercialization of the terminal, Swafford says that commercial service is still on track to begin by the spring.

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