FOND MEMORIES DEMOLISHED ALONG WITH HOMES

JULIE CARR Staff writer
Section: LOCAL,  Page: B1

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 1992

When Charles Denison thinks of the hamlet of Verdoy, he remembers sled


rides down Vly Road, clattering trolley cars on Troy- Schenectady Road and


shiny locomotives.


At 77, Denison thinks of noisy airplanes as a modern nuisance. And


probably the end of what is left of Verdoy.


Bulldozers arrived there this weekend to begin leveling 22 houses


purchased by the Albany County Airport. They are being reduced to a towering


pile of mulch on the corner of Old Niskayuna and Kelly roads.


"You can`t see the logic. There are thousands of people looking for


places to live, and they`re tearing down all these beautiful homes," Denison


said. "It`ll break your heart to see all those houses go down."


All the houses will be gone by the end of the month, according to


Airport Director Michael Polovina.


The airport began purchasing the homes, located in the noisy flight


path of north-south Runway 1-19, with Federal Aviation Administration grants


in 1981. If the houses were found in a 1970s study to experience noise above a certain level, the county offered to buy them.


These are the same houses that were part of a federally funded noise-


abatement program called into question in 1989, when a Times Union


investigation revealed that some were housing politically connected tenants


for little or no rent years after being purchased by the county.


Polovina said residents were not required to sell, but many did. Three separate FAA grants paid for the purchases of homes on Troy-Schenectady,


Kelly, Old Niskayuna and Buhrmaster roads and Spruce Lane.


"The FAA and the county treated it as a voluntary participation


project, and some people decided to stay," he said. "Generally, we acquired


about two-thirds of the properties identified as having incompatible land


uses."


Denison was one of those who decided to stay. His Troy-Schenectady Road home is set back from the road, behind where his parents` house stood until it was leveled for the widening of Route 7.


"By God, I don`t think there`s anybody closer to it (the runway noise) than us, except maybe Ed (Buhrmaster)," he said. "You get used to it."


Buhrmaster, the 62-year-old Republican county legislator, was also born on Troy-Schenectady Road, in a three-story farmhouse that fell to bulldozers


on Saturday.


"When I was a boy, the airport just seemed like something that was


`over there,`" said Buhrmaster. "Now it`s not `over there` anymore. You can


see it from my house."


Buhrmaster is another lifelong Verdoy resident who decided to stay when the county offered to buy his home. He and his wife own 80 acres off


Buhrmaster Road behind his now-leveled boyhood home. The road is named for his grandfather.


"For me, it was an easy decision," he said. "I`ve lived here all my


life. I want to put in my days where I have space around me."


Buhrmaster`s wife, Maybelle, also grew up on a Verdoy farm that her


parents sold a decade ago to Pepsi- Cola Co. because of its proximity to the


airport.


"I was born in 1928, when the airport was just a little bitty place,"


she said. "When I was a kid, the airport was a novelty."


Today, jets rumble overhead at the Denisons and the Buhrmasters.


Polovina said it is ironic that the homes of the 1970s are being leveled just as talk of a new noise study has begun.


"What we know from noise studies that are being done as part of airport expansion is that noise contours have shrunk," Polovina said. "The people who haven`t sold are going to continue to experience noise, but presumably they


factored that into their decisions."


The FAA has required that airline companies create quieter planes by


1994 as part of a national noise policy.


For Denison, the noise is much more palatable than watching the homes


of his family and friends fall.


He has collected dozens of photographs of historic Verdoy, Latham,


Niskayuna and Colonie over the years and written an informal history of Troy- Schenectady Road, or Route 7, which he affectionately calls "the turnpike."


As he leafed through photo albums on Monday filled with houses that no longer stand, he lamented the end of an era.


"There really isn`t any Verdoy left," he said.