Nick Maccharoli shows the damaged fence of Sikorsky Memorial Airport that lines his Stratford property on Monday, November 7, 2011.
Photo: B.K. Angeletti / Connecticut Post
STRATFORD -- Amid the titanic struggle between Bridgeport and Stratford over the future of Sikorsky Memorial Airport, a small, but very distinctive voice cries out in distress.
Nick Maccharoli, 78, desperately wants someone to come fix the fence that borders his modest home on Stratford Road and the airport property.
"Batso," as he prefers to be called in difference to the flying rodent, whose likeness decorates his home and unique homemade vehicles, is fed up with officials from both municipalities.
"I've called the mayors of both Bridgeport and Stratford, I've called the airport, and nobody has come out to do anything," he complained in his gravely voice. "I'm fed up."
Airport Manager John Ricci disagrees.
"We have made repairs to the fence that abuts Mr. Maccharoli's property and trimmed the overgrowth on the airport side of the fence," Ricci said.
"Our workers are not allowed to go onto private property to make repairs or trim overgrowth. We will make necessary repairs if there are any outstanding issues with the fence."
With the tuft of black hair sticking out of the back of his otherwise-bald head and tattoos all over his body, Maccharoli could be considered an imposing figure. "I'm an expert in martial arts," he confirmed.
But fortunately, he adds that he is a man of peace, while the problem with the fence has him fighting mad.
And indeed, the 8-foot metal fence that runs the length of his property, separating it from the airport property, is in bad shape. It's twisted and bowed in sections and covered in thick brush. There is even a piece missing toward the back of Maccharoli's property.
"I pay a lot of money in taxes and this is what I have to put up with," he complained, pointing at the twisted metal wire and bramble divider. "I go to cut my grass and the limbs from the fence are in my face."
Recently, Stratford filed suit against Bridgeport, which owns the airport, seeking to block the use of the airport's major runway until a blast fence, damaged in a plane crash last June, is repaired.
Maccharoli's fence is a long walk from the area of the blast fence, but is part of the barrier that marks the airport's perimeter. He said planes do come close to the house he has owned since 1967.
"One time I heard a big plane coming in and it was so loud I thought that was it -- it was going to hit my house," he said. "But you get used to it."