altMichael Hayman is used to covering the news, but the retired Courier-Journal photographer never thought he’d be the one making it. Hayman is the main spokesperson for a group of Seneca Gardens and Kingsley homeowners who are opposed to a proposal by the Louisville Regional Airport Authority to cut, trim or top off trees in their neighborhoods. The residents believe the plan’s real purpose is to change the area’s landscape, making Bowman Field more attractive to corporate jet traffic. Hayman, who is the arborist for Seneca Gardens, says the damage to the tree canopy in his community could be devastating.

“I could be wrong by 200 trees one way or the other, but there could be more than 1,000 trees involved in their plan,” Hayman explains. “I don’t know how you can justify that. It works to the airport authority’s advantage to not know how many trees are involved, because it’s scary when somebody says it’s a thousand trees.”
The issue has galvanized the residents around Bowman Field and led to three contentious, capacity-filled meetings – two held by the LRAA and one sponsored by 8th District Metro Councilman Tom Owen. The controversy began last December when the LRAA sent letters to 500 homes that could be affected by its proposed “Bowman Field Airport Area Safety Program.”