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Friends of Meigs Field
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3/31/03 -- Friends of Meigs press release!

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03/31/2003
 
Outrage!


 

City Uses Storm-Troop Tactics to Trash Meigs

Friends of Meigs to City: “For homeland security, closing Meigs is the riskiest thing possible”

Chicago, IL – The City of Chicago today used surprise and shock tactics to start demolishing Meigs Field, the world-renowned airport serving downtown, ripping up runway without notice in the dark of night under police guard. “We are in shock,” said Rachel Goodstein, president of the Friends of Meigs Field. “The City of Chicago had agreed to keep Meigs Field open until 2026,” she said, citing a December 2001 agreement between Mayor Daley and Governor Ryan.

“This smacks of totalitarianism,” said Goodstein. “It is nothing but an unmitigated land grab.”
The demolition came without warning, when dozens of heavy earth-movers descended on Meigs shortly after it closed at 10:00 P.M. Sunday night. The Friends of Meigs only received warning via news media inquiries. When Friends of Meigs representatives tried to visit the airport to talk to officials about the situation, they were turned away from the area by armed police.

“We understand that the City is trying to use ‘homeland security’ as an excuse to destroy Meigs without notice,” said Goodstein. “Of all of the possible things they could do, that’s the worst possible for public security. If there is a security issue at an airport, you work with the users to resolve it in the least disruptive manner, you don’t destroy millions of dollars of taxpayer property.”

The Friends of Meigs Field have repeatedly pointed out that—not only does Meigs Field regularly handle medevac flights and air-sea rescue operations for the lakefront and downtown high rises—it also is the facility responsible for control of all air traffic over downtown Chicago.  “Meigs Field is what protects us from what the Mayor fears,” said Goodstein. “If he wants better airspace security, he should encourage MORE people to use Meigs.” Meigs Field’s control tower controls all traffic within 4 ½ miles of downtown Chicago. Also, since September 11, 2001, security has been tighter at Meigs than at any other small airport in the state.

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