Majority Of Residents Want City To Buy Homes Soon

CLEVELAND (AP) - People with homes near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are showing eagerness to sell their properties so that the airport can expand, according to city records.

The residents are part of the early buyout plan for homes in the area Cleveland hopes to use for expansion of the airport.

Friday was the deadline to get on a priority list for people wanting to be among the first to sell their homes to Cleveland as part of the airport agreement reached last year between the Cleveland and Brook Park.

So far, 84 percent of residents in the first phase have applied.

Commissioner Angelo Nuzzo, of Brook Park's Department of Airport Relations and Community Assistance, and Sean Denniston, Cleveland's project coordinator for the Department of Port Control, had hoped they might get a 50 percent early return.

"I'm trying to learn how to relax. This is almost like living in a rental home. If a light bulb burns out, I have to think, should I change it?" asked resident William Pope, who signed up for the early buyout.

He said he doesn't see much choice.

"We're facing the inevitable. The airport is literally expanding right in our back yards," he said.

Denniston said he thinks that once a few homes are purchased, the homeowners who have not already agreed to sell will.

"Once they see that the purchases go well and word spreads, I think they will come on board," he said.

The two cities are committed to ensuring residents receive fair-market value, and Cleveland has agreed to provide benefits offered under the federal Uniform Relocation Act. That means the city will pay closing costs on the next home, moving costs and other costs.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)