Residents to rally against privatizing county airport

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Organizers are expecting 500 to 1,000 people to attend a rally tonight admonishing a proposal to privatize and expand the Gwinnett County Airport.

The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse square in Lawrenceville.

"Lawrenceville is a great place to live, and I want to keep it that way -- good schools, low crime, attractive neighborhoods and a business-friendly community," said organizer John Heard, a former state representative now running for county commission. "I want to build on those things and make them better. The airport proposal is wrong-minded and a serious threat to our quality of life. I am not willing to sacrifice the Lawrenceville community so a few people can make a buck."

Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration gave preliminary approval to Gwinnett County to pursue privatization without having to pay back federal grants.

While one company has proposed bringing commercial flights to the airport, nearby Lawrenceville residents have expressed concern about noise, declining property values and other potential negative impacts.