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Mar 1, 2013 11:07 PM by Lacey Steele

Residents give their opinions about army helicopter training in Pueblo

Pueblo residents had a chance to sound off tonight about a proposal to use the airport for army helicopter training.

It was the first of several public meetings to discuss the plan and its impact on the community.

City Council is studying whether or not it's a good idea.

Fort Carson has a problem.

You see, they're about to get an influx of aircrafts.

"Due to unfortunate issues, we are not able to at this point house all of those aircrafts," said Lt. Col. Lentz.

That's where Pueblo's airport comes in.

If approved, 30 blackhawks could be housed there, but they want the public's support first.

"I think it's essential that Fort Carson be allowed to talk to the public, find their concerns and considerations, and the reasonings," said Lt. Col. Lentz.

"I think it's good to have transparency, and the military wants that transparency, too," said Nawrocki.

In a public meeting Friday night, residents spoke up.

Some were concerned about noise, others with the helicopters flying too low, but Fort Carson says they're going above the FAA's regulation of 1000 feet.

"We're going to triple that," said Lt. Col. Lentz. "We're going to make sure that we don't fly over the city."

They'll first head north from the airport.

"They'd cut across towards the northwest to clearly miss any of the city, Pueblo West, city and downtown Pueblo at all," said Lt. Col. Lentz.

It's essential training for future missions.

"The environment in this area and the Colorado Springs area is a perfect environment to train and when we go over to Afghanistan be prepared to expect what we have," said Lt. Col. Lentz.

"I feel very confident that the military's going to be able to demonstrate that they're going to not be invading the privacy of the city," said Nawrocki.

Plus, they say it will bring in much needed revenue.

If you'd like to learn more or give your input, a second public meeting is planned for March 14 at East High School at 5:30 in the evening.

A third meeting is being planned for March 28.

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