REOPEN MEIGS FIELD!
Meigs Defense Fund:
us defend Meigs Field (click here)
from before 12/12/2003
Meigs news archive from before 12/12/03:
For more current news stories, click here.
Meigs scarred 3-30-03
Meigs Supporters Who Attended
Yesterday's Hearing: Thank You!
The Friends of Meigs' ad campaign paid off with a solid showing of
Meigs supporters at the Chicago Park District budget hearing.
A giant thank you goes out to all of the Meigs supporters who made
the effort to brave the sub-freezing temperatures and tempests
downtown last night to attend the Chicago Park District's budget
Many Friends of Meigs and other
Meigs supporters were in attendance and the result was striking.
Those who spoke did so eloquently, pointing out reasons to re-open
Meigs ranging from the increased rescue times for the Chicago Fire
Department's helicopter rescue squad that has been moved 72 blocks
farther away from downtown (and over 22 miles from north side
beaches) to the added congestion, runway incursions, delays, and
errors at Midway and O'Hare since Meigs' closure, to the
excitement of watching planes take off and land at 12th St. beach
adjacent to Meigs.
Whenever a Meigs supporter would
speak, they were greeted with enthusiastic applause. When Meigs
opponents spoke, the room reacted in stony silence.
A Park District representative
called the Friends of Meigs midday on Thursday to offer an olive
branch: a full, unbroken15-minute slot at the head of the agenda
to make the Parks and Planes presentation, in exchange for the
organization's leaders pooling their time. The Friends of Meigs
accepted with the condition that those supporters not on the
Executive Committee would still be free to speak as individual
citizens. Yet many Meigs supporters' names were never called,
though they had waited patiently until all of the names had been
called by 9:00 P.M.
When the board attempted to adjourn
the meeting without calling these individuals, an immediate
reaction from the crowd brought a swift reversal, and most of
those who had been left out were given the opportunity to speak
The Park Board votes on the 2004
operating budget on Wednesday, December 17 (Kittyhawk Day). A
vote for the draft budget, which does not include plans to re-open
Meigs Field--would not be fatal to the proposal, but would also
not advance it.
Thursday, Dec. 11
face big cuts"
- Chicago Tribune,
shortfall for parks;
District confronts unpleasant choices"
- Crain's Chicago Business,
a $30 million deficit"
- Chicago parks superintendent David Doig, Nov. 6
Meigs Field will provide Park District
$139 million or more, erase budget gap, create fabulous
- Friends of Meigs Field
Please attend the Park District public budget hearing,
This coming Thurs. 12/11
Speak Now!...and make
PROBLEM: The Chicago Park
District projects a $30 million deficit for 2004.
The Park District is proposing
to raise property taxes for the third time in four years,
raise fees, and cut services and payroll to make ends meet.
The Park District does not have funds to repair, staff and
maintain all of its currently existing parks and play lots,
much less add parks in park-starved neighborhoods.
SOLUTION: Up to $139 Million
or more from the Federal Aviation Administration.
IT WORKS: Re-opening Meigs Field
The re-opening of Meigs Field
by the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago can
provide up to $139 million or more in federal aviation funds
to the Chicago Park District.
Details are in the Friends of
Meigs Field's new plan: PARKS AND PLANES: A Vision for Meigs
Field and Northerly Island
VIEW THE PLAN:
Visit our website, sign a petition: www.friendsofmeigs.org
LET YOUR VOICE
BE HEARD: Come to the Park District Budget Hearing
Chicago Park District Budget
Thursday, December 11, 6:00 P.M. (come early)
Park District Headquarters, 541 N. Fairbanks, Chicago, 8th
According to a September 21
article in the Chicago Tribune: More than 20 years after
the federal government sued the Chicago Park District for
neglecting fieldhouses and playgrounds in minority
neighborhoods, teens in those areas are being shortchanged in
recreational programs compared with peers in more affluent
areas. On top of that, over half of Chicago's
neighborhoods--mostly in poorer neighborhoods--have fewer than
2 open space acres per thousand residents, the minimum
standard, according to the Chicago City Space Plan published
by the Park District and City of Chicago.
Neighborhoods like Logan
Square, Hermosa, Humboldt Park and the Lower West Side have
less than a single acre of open space per thousand residents,
according to the report. Meigs' neighborhood, where
Mayor Richard M. Daley lives, has over 48 acres per thousand
residents according to the same report, yet the Park District
stands poised to spend millions converting Meigs to a park
when the neighborhoods are crying out for relief.
The Friends of Meigs Field have
developed an exciting proposal to replace the bulldozed runway
at Meigs with a combination of new parkland and a newly opened
airport, complete with an aviation museum for all
Chicagoans. The Bessie Coleman Skypark and Chicago Air
Museum plan is a bold way to benefit park users and planes
alike. It combines a working airport with new park features
like meadows, nature walks, a harborside promenade and a
learning center where our children can learn about careers in
the exciting field of aviation. It also would again become the
place where the Friends of Meigs Field and the Tuskegee Airmen
have given over 6,000 Chicago kids their first flights.
The Best: $139 Million for
More importantly, the plan
would provide up to $139 million or more in federal aviation
funds to the Chicago Park District. The Bessie Coleman Skypark
would cost under $35 million to create (including replacing
Meigs' runway,) leaving over $100 million for our local parks
greets Merrill C. Meigs, one of the first to arrive at the new
"Northerly Island Airport" (later Meigs Field)
years for Meigs Field
Wednesday, Meigs Field supporters should take a moment to
remember the 55th birthday of "The Coolest Little Airport
on the Planet." The airport was first conceived by
Edward Bennett, Daniel Burnham's co-author of the Plan of
Chicago in 1916.
Throughout the 1920's there was
considerable consensus to put Chicago's downtown airport on a
proposed man-made island at Meigs' site, with the Mayor, City
Council, State legislature, park commission and Chamber of
Commerce all in agreement. When the Great Depression
intervened, the 1933-34 World's Fair was held on the property
in an effort to "bootstrap" Chicago's economy.
After the Fair, the peninsula sat idle for 12 years until work
began on additional landfill for the airport in 1946.
When the airport finally opened
in 1948, Merrill C. Meigs, publisher of the Chicago
Herald-American, one of the City's first Aero Commissioners,
and a tireless booster for the airport flew his own Beechcraft
into the spankin'-new Northerly Island Airport (later renamed
in his honor.) He was greeted by Mayor Kennelly, who was
originally schedule to fly in with Meigs, but at the last
moment had "pressing commitments" that prevented
from taking the flight.
gift giving: Meigs merchandise
Looking for great gifts for
your aviation-oriented loved ones?
Shop online at the Friends of
Meigs Field website. Gifts include T-shirts, mugs, caps,
posters, and more. And your purchases will go to help
our efforts to re-open Meigs.
Stocks are limited so order
today. (Order before 12/18/03 to receive items before
Phonathon leader Chris Bennett mans the
calls on members to attend hearing
the weekend, intrepid volunteers of the Friends of Meigs Field
were on the phone...calling on supporters to attend this
week's budget hearings.
Over 500 Friends of Meigs Field
who live in Chicago were called, urging them to attend the
Chicago Park District budget hearings on Thursday, 12/11 at 6
Thank you to everyone who said
they will attend. For those who said they'd try, we sure
hope you can make it. And most of all, thank you to all
who volunteered their time on a Sunday (during a Bears game,
no less!) to participate in the phonathon.
Air traffic controller
errors have risen as Meigs Field traffic has been re-routed to
number of controller errors since Meigs closure
Blamed on increase in traffic at Midway, O'Hare
According to a new story in the
Chicago Tribune, controller errors in the Chicago area are
rising dramatically, as traffic increases at O'Hare and
especially Midway airport in the wake of Meigs Field's
closure. According to the report:
handling planes near O'Hare International Airport and Midway
Airport committed 24 errors so far this year that resulted in
violations of the required minimum spacing between aircraft,
the Federal Aviation Administration said.
"Eight of the errors made
by controllers at the FAA facility in Elgin occurred since
Oct. 1, corresponding with a surge in air travel that is
expected to continue expand next year.
"Four controller errors
were made in 2002, and eight were made in 2001 at the
facility. In 2000, before the steep downturn in the airline
industry caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks a year later,
the FAA recorded 10 errors at the facility."
Read the entire story and
similar recent stories at
The purpose of a reliever airport like Meigs
Field is to separate general aviation traffic from scheduled
commercial service that has no choice of destination.
lands on wrong runway at Midway;
Meigs could have prevented incident
On November 14, a light
aircraft--the type that Meigs Field was designed to
serve--landed on the incorrect runway at Midway airport,
touching down just in front of a Boeing 737 cleared to enter
the same runway.
"A Mooney was cleared to
land on [Runway 22-Right] but landed on [22-Left]
instead," according to the Federal Aviation
Administration. "A 737 was scheduled to take off on
[22-Left], but saw the Mooney and stopped before entering the
runway, allowing the Mooney to land."
The incident served as a
chilling reminder of what the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association has called an "unacceptably low safety
level" since the closing of Meigs Field in March.
It is not surprising that an unfamiliar pilot would mistake
one runway for another at Midway, where complex parallel
runways are only a few hundred feet apart.
What can be said is that no
pilot ever cleared for a landing at Meigs Field ever landed at
Midway instead by accident.
Read the entire story at:
Come fly Young Eagles with the
Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles rally Sat. 12/13
Chicago "DODO" Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen is
1,000,000th Young Eagle Flight!
invited to join the
"DODO" Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc. on
Saturday, December 13, 2003 for our monthly Young Eagles Rally
at the Gary-Chicago International Airport (GYY) terminal
building. The pilot briefing will be at 8:30 AM with
Young Eagle flights beginning at 9:00 AM and continuing until
each child has flown. Refreshments will be provided for
pilots and volunteers. You can check flight status on
the day of the rally after 7:30 AM by calling the Young Eagles
Hotline. In Illinois: (312) 409-5621
In Indiana: toll free (888)
235-9824 Press 3 for the flight status
400 children are scheduled, so volunteer pilots are encouraged
to take part. Pilots must meet the requirements of the
EAA Young Eagles Program. (Details at
will be celebrating several milestones.
1,000,000 Young Eagle flown
1,000 Young Eagle flown by Robert "Butch" Bejna
(All 1,000 done one at a time in Butch's Cessna 150.
Quite a feat!)
100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers First Flight
Tuskegee Airmen 2003 MVP (Most Valuable Pilot)
Birthday of the Tuskegee Airmen Most Dedicated Volunteer,
Joyous Holiday Season!
is our sincere hope that you can join us for this festive
celebration. For planning purposes, if you plan to
participate, please send an e-mail to
hoping you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we're looking
forward to seeing you!
Rapier, Chief Pilot
Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program
Come to PAPA's Wright Day Banquet
Celebrate the dream!
Wright dinner celebration
Celebrate the centennial with Chicago aviators
Join the FRIENDS OF MEIGS FIELD
as we support
the PALWAUKEE AIRPORT PILOTS ASSOCIATION
DON'T MISS THIS ONE!
Once-in-a-lifetime Aviation Event!
The Wright Brothers 100th Anniversary Banquet Celebration
Wednesday, December 17th - A
never-to-be-forgotten aviation evening!
|Overnight stay at the
Renaissance North Shore Hotel with breakfast. |
|Tickets to the Northwestern
vs. Penn State basketball game on Sat Feb 14th, and much
|Renaissance Chicago North
Shore Hotel |
|933 Skokie Blvd.,
Northbrook, IL 60062 |
|6:30 PM cocktails (cash bar)
7:00 PM dinner $40.00 per person |
|Pay with credit card
online at www.pwkpilots.org,
click the link to Windy City Flyers, or call your
charge in to Skip at 847-808-1188. |
Deadline for credit card orders: December 15th
|Pay with checks to the
Palwaukee Airport Pilots Association, 1005 South Wolf
Rd., Wheeling, IL 60090.|
Deadline for checks: Send no later than December
For more information visit www.pwkpilots.org
Don't wait, time is short!
Sign up now - join in the
celebration - prizes, music, dancing, fun!
head: Meigs closure "a terrific problem"; Controllers:
local newspapers reported that FAA Administrator Marion Blakey
has termed the closure of Meigs Field "a terrific problem
from all of our standpoint." The comments came in
the context of a telephone news conference with transportation
reporters across Illinois.
At the same time, according to the Chicago
Tribune, Ray Gibbons, president of the controllers union at
the Elgin FAA center said, "The closure of Meigs and the
new mix of small and large aircraft we are seeing is bogging
down Midway and making our job incredibly more complex in the
airspace around Midway, Meigs and O'Hare."
Reported controller errors have risen this
year in the wake of Meigs' closure from 4 in all of 2002 to 20
already this year.
here to read coverage by the Chicago Tribune and the
of Wisconsin protests Meigs closure
it was revealed that the State of Wisconsin has protested to
the Federal Aviation Administration the closure of Meigs
Field, particularly the Class D airspace surrounding it
and the air traffic control tower providing guidance to
Wisconsin pilot transiting the area.
here to read coverage by the Chicago Sun-Times, Avweb, and
Crain's Chicago Business.
Friends of Meigs Field unveil vision for Meigs, Northerly Island
Parks and Planes:
The Friends of Meigs Field have introduced an exciting and
innovative proposal for Meigs Field.
the Friends of Meigs Field introduced an exciting new proposal
for the future of Meigs Field.
Entitled "Parks and Planes: A
Vision for Meigs Field and Northerly Island" the plan
builds on a proposal introduced earlier in the year by the
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to use FAA funds to
benefit Chicago parks.
The plan proposes a new Bessie Coleman
Skypark and Chicago Air Museum at a reopened Meigs Field,
adding new parkland, features, and public attractions, while
restoring the benefits of a downtown airport to Chicago.
Some of the features include:
|A combination of new lakefront parkland
and an operating airport.|
|What is believed to be more new open
space than any new park that has been added to the
lakefront in over 50 years.|
|Exciting elements like a meadow, a
lookout point, nature walks, harborside promenade, picnic
areas, fishing stations, an artificial scuba reef.|
|A new Chicago Air Museum dedicated to the
education of Chicago children.|
|Exciting activities and events
unavailable at any other park in Chicago.|
|Preservation and improvement of all of
the benefits of an operating airport.|
|Generation of millions of dollars in new
revenues for the Chicago Park District to use in improving
parks across the city.|
|All at NO COST TO CHICAGO TAXPAYERS|
The Friends of Meigs Field are calling for
public hearings on the future of Northerly Island and Meigs
Field, including full and fair consideration of this
here to learn more about the plan and how you can help.
Air Tour Flies Over Meigs in Solidarity
had planned luncheon stop at historical Meigs Field
The National Air Tour (www.nationalairtour.org)
visited "The Coolest Little Airport on the Planet"
Tuesday, coming as close as it could to landing, but
ultimately having to bypass Chicago.
Stopping overnight in Lansing,
IL on Monday, the tour was originally scheduled to stop in
Chicago at Meigs Field on Tuesday, September 9. Instead,
with the runway in a shambles, the tour flew over the
famous-but-damaged airfield in a show of support. The
tour, includes over two dozen historic aircraft, the likes of
which have not been seen together in Chicago since the
dedication of Meigs Field in 1950. (The airport opened
Pilots of 25 museum-quality
historic aircraft from the 1920's and 30's will stop in 26
cities, recreating as closely as possible the route of the
1932 air tour that was never completed due to the Depression.
of Meigs Deplore Continuation of Airport Demolition
Park District has failed to even acknowledge formal
request for delay;
Alternate proposal only weeks from completion
Chicago, IL - Today the Friends of Meigs
Field issued a statement deploring the apparent continuation
of demolition at Meigs Field, Chicago's lakefront airport.
"The city seems to be running
scared," said Rachel Goodstein, president of the Friends
of Meigs Field. "What other explanation is there for not
getting public input or considering alternatives that the
public and taxpayers almost certainly would prefer?"
According to news reports, the City of
Chicago and the Chicago Park District are poised to resume
demolition of Meigs Field today. The Friends of Meigs Field
and a coalition of aviation organizations have made a formal
request to the Chicago Park District for a moratorium on
demolition long enough to finalize and present an alternate
plan for Meigs that would create a combination park/airport,
and provide millions in revenue to the cash-strapped Park
District for parks elsewhere.
The Park District has not even acknowledged
receiving the request, much less seriously considered it.
AirVenture Wraps Up; Huge Response for Meigs
Crowds gathered at the Friends of Meigs
tent to sign petitions to reopen the famous airport.
(Photo: Steve White, EAA AirVenture today)
outpouring of support for "the Coolest Little Airport on
the Planet" was heartwarming.
Despite a late entry that kept us out of the
official program, EAA AirVenture attendees ("AirVenturers?")
made special efforts to seek out the Friends of Meigs tent,
located near the Century of Flight pavilion on AeroShell
Square. The tent was donated by EAA.
Thousands signed petition postcards asking
Congress to take action to reopen Meigs Field. The final
total has not been tallied, but seems certain to exceed the
event goal of 5,000. The postcards will be sorted by
district, and presented to members of Congress, asking them to
include language reopening Meigs Field in upcoming
Many visitors expressed their shock and
outrage, not only over the closure, but also over Mayor
Daley's recent callous remarks about a pilot who set down at
the closed Meigs with an electrical problem. Daley had
seemed to imply that he felt the incident was a hoax to
embarrass him, showing his lack of understanding of general
aviation by claiming the pilot was hundreds of miles from the
"What is he talking about?" asked
one tent visitor. "Everybody from out east who
doesn't want to fly over Lake Michigan flies right along
shows his ignorance, indifference to air safety
for image of VFR Lakefront Flyway, showing heavily trafficked
corridor along Chicago lakefront between Wisconsin and points
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley displayed amazing ignorance and
indifference to the safety of a pilot who made an emergency
landing at the closed Meigs Field on Sunday.
According to news reports,
Daley was quoted in a news conference yesterday as saying
"This is the city of Chicago. It's in the state of
Illinois. Oshkosh is up there. It's north of here a couple
hours. If he's going to Oshkosh, that man is going in the
wrong direction." According to the Chicago
Sun-Times, his insinuation was that the incident might have
been intentional to embarrass the mayor for his recent closure
The Mayor's comments reflect
both a callous indifference to the safety of air traffic in
the region and a woeful ignorance of the airspace around
Chicago and its traffic.
According to another news
report, the pilot did not even know of Meigs' closure in
advance, and only discovered it when approaching the torn-up
runway. The airport is still shown as open on FAA
charts, due to the City's illegal closure without proper
notice to the FAA.
Because pilots usually do not
fly single-engine aircraft over Lake Michigan, in case of
mechanical difficulty, a great deal of traffic between the EAA
convention and points east passes along the busy VFR lakefront
flyway over Chicago's lake shore. The excerpt from the
Chicago Terminal Area Chart, at left, proves the point.
The dark blue band along the lakeshore is a "VFR
flyway," where a heavy concentration of flights
pass through, avoiding O'Hare and Midway airports' airspace,
and staying close to shore.
The wisdom of this practice was
only proven by the experience of the pilot landing at Meigs on
Sunday. Suffering from an alternator failure and a loss
of radio communications, and faced with increasing rain and
falling visibilities, the pilot did the safe thing:
Landed at Meigs.
The Friends of Meigs Field
responded with a press release today, calling the Mayor's
comments "irresponsible" and "out of
line." The press release details how the pilot was
exactly where he should have been if he had really been en
route from Michigan (originally from Maine) to Oshkosh, WI.
Microsoft Flight Sim: Meigs Still "Home"
Meigs Field is still undamaged and
"home" airport in Microsoft's new "Flight
Simulator 2004 --Century of Flight"
to Microsoft product engineers, the newest and latest version
of the world's most popular flight simulation software will
still call Meigs Field home--at least for now.
Simulator 2004 -- Century of Flight" is being introduced
this week at the EAA's AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, and the new
version has "dual default" airports: SEATAC in
Seattle, WA, and (drum roll) good ol' Meigs Field.
Meigs has been the default or
"home" airport for Flight Sim since its inception,
before even Microsoft was involved. The original program
was written by a couple of software engineers at the
University of Illinois, in Champaign, IL. They wanted to
model an airport environment that had lots of interesting
scenery, and that they were familiar with. They chose
Meigs, a popular weekend destination for pilots from the
The original version used
nothing more than sticks for buildings, but Meigs' famous
profile was recognizable. In the beginning the only
place you could "fly your desktop" was Meigs.
Today's version is far more detailed, modeling airports around
the world, and showing individual buildings, streets, and
If you are visiting AirVenture,
stop by the Microsoft exhibit. Microsoft is a sponsor of
this year's Century of Flight AirVenture Convention.
Emergency Landing Pilot Makes it to Oshkosh -- No Advance Clue of
Richard Randall and Dick Green
arrive at Oshkosh after their exciting "visit" to
(Photo: Steve White,
Airport still shown on charts, due to illegal closure
According to a report today in AirVenture
Today online (the daily news from the EAA's AirVenture
convention in Oshkosh, WI) the pilot involved in Sunday's
emergency landing--Richard Randall--and his passenger Dick
Green, safely arrived in Oshkosh on Tuesday.
They reported that they had not
been aware that Meigs had been closed until they made a low
pass over the runway during their emergency approach, and
discovered the damage done on March 31. The airport is still
shown to be open on charts: a result of the City's illegal
secret closing of the airport without giving proper notice to
Unable to communicate via radio
after his alternator failure, Randall encountered increasing
rain the farther north he flew along Chicago's
lakeshore. He made the prudent choice, and reversed
course to Meigs, shown on his charts. When he discovered
the torn-up runway, he made another circuit, and landed on the
grass adjacent to runway. According to AirVenture Today,
Randall said, "We land on grass all the time. We made an
uneventful landing, and you should have seen all the people
The men reported that the
Chicago police who greeted them at the airport were
"helpful," but Park District officials-including a
lawyer who threatened to charge them with trespassing-were
"arrogant." After repairing a loose connection, the
pair ferried the aircraft to DuPage under a ferry permit from
the FAA, after which they resumed their journey to Oshkosh,
|7/29 to 8/4/03, Friends of
Meigs at EAA AirVenture
Click for map to
Friends of Meigs tent
near AeroShell Square
at EAA AirVenture 2003
Drive to Congress: "Re-open Meigs Field"
Cell-phone calls to Chicago City Council
EAA provides tent
on AeroShell Square
Oshkosh, WI - The Friends of
Meigs Field will be hosting a tent at this year's Experimental
Aircraft Association AirVenture
convention in Oshkosh, WI. The group will be
collecting signatures on postcards to send to Congress and
other public officials in the ongoing effort to reopen Meigs
The tent, provided gratis by
Aircraft Association, will be "operations
central" for the group, with volunteers gathering
signatures and encouraging Chicago residents to call their
aldermen and request hearings on Meigs' closure and
alternative plans to create a combination park and airport
from the famous airstrip.
If you are coming to Oshkosh,
please be sure to stop by and sign a card. Take a few
back to your local airport, too.
If you have a few hours to
volunteer in the tent, so much the better. Let us know
by contacting us.
|7/27/03, Meigs Saves Two More
Meigs Field saves two more lives as a pilot
from Maine makes an emergency landing on the grass adjacent to
the damaged runway after an electrical failure.
Oshkosh-bound aircraft with electrical failure makes emergency
landing at Meigs
Chicago, IL - This afternoon, a
1940's Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser executed an emergency landing
at Meigs Field, after experiencing an electrical and radio
failure, and the pilot feared having been hit by
lightning. The incident started a couple of miles north
of the closed airport. According to reports, the pilot
landed on the grass adjacent to the damaged runway.
The pilot was reported to have
been enroute to Oshkosh, WI, possibly to attend the upcoming EAA
AirVenture convention, that opens on Tuesday. No
injuries were reported.
This is at least the fourth
emergency landing at Meigs in recent years of which the
Friends of Meigs Field are aware, including a helicopter
emergency landing less than two weeks ago (see below.)
here to read the Chicago Tribune's account:
again proves a lifesaver
Click here to
read the Chicago Sun-Times story:
in trouble lands safely at Meigs
Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser
performance (from www.landings.com)
||Gross Weight: 1750 lbs
|Top Speed: 100 kts
||Empty Weight: 990 lbs
|Cruise Speed: 91 kts
||Fuel Capacity: 30.00 gal
|Stall Speed (dirty): 43 kts
||Range: 360 nm
|Ground Roll: 410 ft
||Ground Roll 360 ft
|Over 50 ft obstacle: 720 ft
||Over 50 ft obstacle: 470 ft
|Rate Of Climb: 575 fpm
|Ceiling: 12300 ft
District Continues "Done-Deal 'Democracy'" (tm)
Denies Request for Delay
Demolition to Begin Within 30 days
Chicago, IL - Despite the
opportunity to bring between $40 million and $630 million in
new revenue to the Chicago Park District by reinventing Meigs
Field as a park with an airport, Chicago Park District
commissioners today voted to proceed with the demolition of
Meigs Field on a fast track.
The Board refused to defer the
decision even a few weeks to allow the Friends of Meigs Field
to present a plan under development that would reopen the
airport as a combined park and airport for all the people of
Chicago, and provide $40 to $630 million in additional federal
funds that could be used to improve parks across the
city. There was not even any discussion between board
members prior to the vote on the issue.
According to Park Board
President Maria Saldaña, "the decision to close the
airport has already been made." In other words, the
City and the Park District decided to go back on their word to
preserve Meigs for up to 24 years with absolutely no public
The Chicago Park District board
is completely appointed by the Mayor of Chicago, the only park
board in Illinois that is not elected by the voters.
(Any connection there to the
way they ignore the public's opinion? Don't forget, a
recent Chicago Tribune poll showed that 65% of those polled
were against the Mayor's closure of Meigs.) The vote was
unanimous, with 2 commissioners (Pickens and Burroughs)
The result is that on
Wednesday, a $1.5 million contract was approved, giving
Pacific Construction Services approval to remove the runway,
some electrical infrastructure, and add topsoil to replace the
runway. The funds will come from the City of Chicago
Department of Aviation, a questionable practice, since the FAA
prohibits redirection of many airport funds outside the
In contrast to previous reports
that indicated the destruction would begin in "early
fall," the Park District said Wednesday that demolition
will begin "within 30 days."
(We give 'em 'til midnight,
Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0307170089jul17,1,4231923.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed
The Friends of Meigs Field
continue with development of a win-win framework plan for
reopening Meigs Field as a combination park/airport while
bringing revenue to the cash-strapped Park District for other
parks. The organization also continues to explore
possible solutions at the federal level.
of Meigs to Protest Rapid-Fire Demolition Proceedings
Chicago, IL - Today, the
Friends of Meigs Field will lodge a protest with the Chicago
Park District over the haste in which a demolition contract is
being issued for the removal of the Meigs Field runway.
In the past few days, the Chicago
Tribune and Chicago
Sun-Times have reported that the Chicago Park District has
already chosen a contractor to demolish the Meigs Field
runway. Friends of Meigs Field will be on hand to
protest the ratification of this contract today at the Chicago
Park District committee and board meetings.
The contract would seem to
violate FAA requirements that bar use of aviation funds for
non-aviation purposes. The Park District plans to hire
the contractor but pay for it using City of Chicago Department
of Aviation funds.
The Friends of Meigs will
request a moratorium on demolition proceedings until public
hearings can be held on the question of Meigs' fate. The
Friends of Meigs expect to introduce in the coming weeks a
win-win plan that would provide between $40 million and $600
million in new revenue to the cash-strapped Chicago Park
District, while reopening Meigs as a reinvented combination
park and airport for all the people of Chicago to enjoy.
needed to help Friends of Meigs at Oshkosh
The Friends of Meigs Field will
be hosting a tent at the upcoming Experimental Aircraft
Association's AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, WI, July
29-Aug. 4. The tent is being donated at show center near
Aeroshell Square, courtesy of the EAA.
Friends of Meigs Field are
seeking volunteers to help staff the tent, where we will be
generating grassroots contacts to local, state, and federal
decision makers, asking them to reopen Meigs Field.
If you can spare a half day at
the world's busiest air show, please
Bonus: We have a
LIMITED(!!!) number of (air-conditioned!) hotel beds
available for volunteers staying overnight. Let us know,
and we'll see if we can help put you up.
Helicopter makes dramatic emergency landing at closed Meigs
Meigs protects yet another life -- That makes at least 3 since
closing in March
According to stories in the
Chicago Sun-Times and
Chicago Tribune, Meigs Field continues to protect lives,
even in its current damaged state.
On Saturday, a helicopter
reportedly registered to the U.S. Border Patrol made an
emergency landing at the presently-closed Meigs Field, after a
suspected bird strike.
The incident is at least the
second since March 31 when the City tore X's into the Meigs
runway, in which the shuttered airport has protected lives.
On April 2, a Meigs controller, still on duty, helped prevent
a mid-air collision over the south lakefront, protecting at
least the lives of the two pilots involved and any passengers
aboard. The incident was captured on tape. (Read
Both incidents highlight the
role Meigs Field plays in air safety in the Chicago region, a
role that would be lost should Meigs be closed permanently.
Supreme Court challenge dropped
The Friends of Meigs Field have
decided not to proceed with an appeal to the Illinois State
Supreme Court of their case to reopen Meigs Field.
Many people responded to our
call for pledges toward the effort, but the total raised in
the short amount of time available fell short of the
significant sum required (over $100,000) to cover expected
legal expenses in the event of a positive ruling by the Court.
Those who pledged toward the
effort will be given the option of withdrawing their pledge or
applying it to the development of the plan for reopening Meigs
as a combination park-airport.
Thank you to all of the
generous supporters who answered the call.
7/9/03: Alderman Calls
for City Council Hearings on Meigs
Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward) today
introduced a resolution calling for hearings on reopening
Chicago Alderman Joe Moore introduces resolution
calling for hearings;
Cites safety decline since closure
Chicago, IL - At today's Chicago City
Council meeting, Council member Joe Moore (D, 49th Ward)
introduced a resolution calling for public hearings into
the adverse effects of closing Meigs Field and
consideration of reopening the airport.
Alderman Moore, a noted supporter of
Chicago parks, cited numerous reports of safety problems
since the closure of Meigs, and said events since the
closure "sound like a disaster waiting to
happen." Ald. Moore mentioned the near mid-air
collision that was prevented by the Meigs control tower
days after the runway closure (a control tower that has
since also been closed,) increased runway incursions at
O'Hare airport, and controller reports of overwork at
According to Moore, he is "calling
on the City Council to fully consider this midnight
decision and shine the full light of day on it before
lives are lost."
here to read the full press release...
7/9/03: Meigs Supporter Launches
DEMOLITIONDICK.COM, offers Demo Dick Dolls
Demolition Dick dolls are for sale at demolitiondick.com
portion of every sale is donated to Friends of Meigs
demolitiondick.com is not affiliated with the Friends of
Creative genius takes on Mayor
Chicago, IL - Bill O'Neill
would probably balk at being called a creative genius, but
as the brains behind myjet.biz, a charter aircraft service
in suburban Chicago, Bill has plenty of opportunity to
exercise his mind.
Like a lot of people in
aviation, he was outraged by Mayor Daley's rash midnight
demolition of Meigs Field, but unlike most, he decided to
do something about it. So, he launched
a website devoted to poking
fun and political barbs at the City Hall powers that
be. One of his first ventures with the new
site: Demolition Dick Dolls. According to
O'Neill, the mini-mightyman is suitable for many purposes,
including (but not limited to) squashing, throwing, or
dropping out the window of your car or aircraft.
According to O'Neill: "He even walks on water (well,
actually just kind of floats.)"
O'Neill's jabs are not
limited to Meigs. He has pithy observations on
Daley's actions on O'Hare, casinos, the state legislature,
quick take powers, you name it.
You can order your
Demolition Dick Doll online at Bill's website: http://demolitiondick.com
And for every order, Bill
has promised a donation to the Friends of Meigs Field.
2: Chicago Tribune Poll:
Public Widely Disapproves of Meigs Closure
Disbelieves Mayor's Fear-Mongering
A new scientific poll
published today in the Chicago Tribune indicates that
Chicago's citizens widely support the airport, don't believe
the Mayor's claims of a terrorist threat, and disagree with
Daley's actions in closing Meigs in late March. The support
cuts across all lines, race, gender, city vs. suburbs,
Democrat vs. Republican.
Mayor Daley ordered the destruction of Meigs Field
runways. He said this was to safeguard downtown Chicago from
possible terrorist attack. Did you approve or disapprove of
Do you believe that the
chance of terrorist attack in downtown Chicago was greater
because of Meigs Field, or was it not greater?
here to read the whole story...
|6/11/03: Item 1: Formal
request today to delay Meigs demolition
Groups protest lack
of public input, waste of $115 million in demolishing Meigs
Chicago, IL - The Friends of
Meigs Field, on behalf of a coalition of emergency medical
and aviation professionals, will present a formal request
today to the Chicago Park District asking for a halt to
Meigs Field demolition plans until an alternate proposal can
be heard. The request also calculates that the true cost of
closing Meigs for a park is over $115 million to the
There has been absolutely no
public input into the midnight decision to close and
bulldoze Chicago's only reliever airport, Meigs Field. The
most recent public hearings on the issue were held in
August, 2001, at which numerous witnesses testified on
behalf of preserving Meigs and not a single witness
testified it should be closed.
The national aviation
community is calling on the Chicago Park District to adhere
to its charter as a public body and offer an opportunity for
public input into the decision to close Meigs Field and
convert it to a park. The Friends of Meigs Field are
preparing an alternate framework proposal, one that will
provide all of the same kinds of park benefits, while
preserving the airport and providing millions of dollars in
revenue to the Park District. Today, we formally seek a
temporary halt to activities to demolish Meigs, for a few
weeks, long enough to finalize the proposal, and give the
public ample opportunity for input before any further damage
is done to the airport.
Item 2: Indiana
Jones Defends Meigs Field
Indiana Jones, aka Harrison Ford defended
Meigs Field last week.
week, Indiana Jones, aka Harrison Ford, defended Meigs Field
in the Chicago press.
In town to promote his new
movie, "Hollywood Homicide," Ford set out in an
unexpected direction. During an interview with Bill
Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times, Ford said "I was
furious. I don't think I've been as angry about anything in
a long time."
"I'm all for parks.
Parks are great, but so are airports, especially one created
to allow for the most spectacular arrival to an
architectural masterpiece, which is Chicago.
me--especially the way it was done."
Ford is a well-known pilot
who grew up in the Chicago area. He flies both
helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, and has become
well-known for his aerial rescues of hikers in
Wyoming. According to Zwecker, Ford flies rescue
missions as a deputy sheriff in his home county.
Item 3: Replacement
Ping Pong & Fish
Park District PR machine in full swing
this certainly was worth risking lives and snarling the
region's air traffic:
Yep, that's right.
According to an "exclusive" story by Fran Spielman
of the Sun-Times on Sunday, the plan for Meigs Field is Ping
Pong and fishing, at least this year. Ms. Spielman did
not bother to obtain contrary viewpoints for her story.
If today's formal request for
a delay in plans to replace Meigs is not granted, the story
reports that Meigs will be open as a park soon as next week,
even before further demolition of the runway can
begin. The "features" of this new park, as
reported by the Sun-Times:
|Ping-Pong tables in the
terminal building (Left over from the ill-fated Ping
Pong promotion the year after Cows on Parade?)|
|Public bathrooms (Wow!
The number two feature is public bathrooms that have
served the public since 1961!)|
|Wildflowers, prairie grass
|Observation deck (This
last is presumably the Meigs observation deck that has
existed and been open to the public for 40 years, up
until the City restricted access 2 years ago.)|
Of course, all of these
features could be added to an existing and operating Meigs
Item 4: Prez
to avoid Meigs, tie up traffic
Shuts down GA
within 10 mile radius of downtown Chicago
Hampers flights within 30 miles, at 16 airports
President Bush arrives at Meigs Field in
(Note: the helicopters are parked on the ramp, not the
President Bush will visit Chicago, not at his usual
venue--Meigs Field--but landing instead at Grant Park, tying
up traffic both on the streets and in the air.
According to a Sun-Times
story, the President's entourage will land on Air Force One
at O'Hare, and then chopper to downtown in Marine One,
landing somewhere in Grant Park. Meigs Field, of
course, is available for the flight, and would not require
snarling ground traffic, but according to a spokesperson for
the Chicago Park District only two helipads are
"functional" right now. She apparently does
not realize that during past visits, the President's cortege
used the taxiway and parking ramp, both still in fine
condition, thanks to legal action by the Friends of Meigs
Also problematic will be a
Temporary Flight Restriction over downtown Chicago, centered
on Grant Park, that will completely shut down general
aviation at Midway Airport for 3-1/2 hours, and severely
restrict flights at 15 other area airports for the same
period. These "pop-up Presidential TFR's"
have become a real problem for general aviation, creating
all kinds of headaches.
AOPA item: President
Bush gets 30-nm TFR for Chicago visit Wednesday
6/1/03: Legislature Passes
O'Hare Bill without Meigs, Peotone
Yesterday, the Illinois House passed
H.B.721, the O'Hare Expansion Act, without taking up measures to
reconstitute the regional plan for airport capacity agreed to by Gov.
Ryan and Mayor Daley in December, 2001.
"We are disappointed the
Legislature did not consider adding Meigs and Peotone, the missing
elements of the plan," said Rachel Goodstein, president of the
Friends of Meigs Field. "Today's vote was their opportunity
to make things right...they failed in that mission."
The issue was hotly debated in the
House for over two hours, and Meigs Field figured prominently in the
debate, drawing much praise, and no criticism. Yet, when the
votes were counted, the measure passed by 84-31 margin.
According to the Daily Southtown,
"In the end, the only lawmakers to oppose
the expansion were a handful of south suburban and northwest
suburban lawmakers -- Democrats and Republicans from the wealthiest
and poorest areas of the state -- sharing a common interest.
"The bill split black lawmakers who
originally said they would oppose O'Hare expansion unless certain
conditions were met, including language for Peotone. The bill also
split lawmakers who represent the south suburbs with some voting it
down and others giving it the green light."
Rep. David Miller, (D, Dolton) carried the
banner for both Peotone and Meigs Field, passionately urging lawmakers
to "stick to the agreement" made between Daley and
Ryan. Numerous other lawmakers supported Meigs verbally,
although some still voted in favor of the O'Hare measure despite the
lack of language to reopen Meigs.
Other representatives speaking in favor of Meigs
|Rep. Carolyn Krause (R, Mt. Prospect)|
|Rep. James Meyer (R, Naperville,) who
called Meigs "a very important component of our airport
system" and "an economic engine...every bit as important
to the economic vitality of this city."|
|Rep. Sidney Mathias (R, Arlington Heights)
who said "What happened there [at Meigs] was wrong."|
|Rep. Will Davis (D, Harvey)|
|Rep. Charles Morrow (D, Chicago) who
mentioned the Tuskegee Airmen and the Meigs Young Eagles program.|
|Rep. David Leitch (R, Peoria, who had
introduced a pro-Meigs amendment to the predecessor bill, S.B.
802), who called Meigs a "wonderful facility" not only
for its access to the city for general aviation, but "more
importantly for civil defense, and disaster relief."
Noting that Meigs can handle fully loaded military C-130's, he
said it is "very shortsighted to allow this to pass without
ensuring that Meigs is kept open."|
|Rep. Terry Parke (R, Schaumburg) who spoke
long and passionately in defense of Meigs Field.|
Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D, Chicago), the
measure's sponsor, drew incredulous stares from Meigs supporters when
she claimed "There is nothing here about Meigs or Peotone, but
that doesn't define their fate." On Friday, of course, a
state appellate court withdrew a stay against further City demolition
of the airport. Meigs supporters were hoping that the
Legislature would act to reopen the airport.
Earlier, late Friday night (actually about 1:30
Saturday morning) the Illinois Senate approved the same measure
40-19. An amendment, offered by Senator James Meeks, to reopen
Meigs Field and build the Peotone airport was referred to the Rules
committee where the Democratic leadership refused to consider it.
The Friends of Meigs Field thank all of our
members and supporters who contacted the Illinois Legislature in
support of Meigs Field. As late as an hour before the House
met on Saturday morning, staff in the House Republican Leadership
offices reported receiving a steady stream of calls in support of the
airport. The strong outpouring of support was the only reason we
were able to get Meigs into consideration on the O'Hare legislation in
the first place. You really did make a difference.
We also extend our thanks to all lawmakers who
spoke or voted in favor of Meigs Field on this matter. It
was a long shot to take, and we came farther than anyone would have
predicted even a few short weeks ago. Your support and
leadership is greatly appreciated, even in defeat.
Here are the votes by individual
lawmaker in each chamber:
Pilot's letter to his great-grandkids
An open letter from a 76-year-old professional
pilot to his great-grandchildren
(appearing in today's Daily
Dear Matthew, Kira and Alyssa,
At 6, 2 and 1, you are barely old enough to read,
but I may not be here when you can, and I felt you need this lesson in
democracy, which you will be able to understand later when you really
It is ironic and sad that during the war with Iraq
in 2003, the only destruction in this country was done by Chicago's
Mayor Richard M. Daley, after dark, when he destroyed an airport
without giving the people the benefit of due process.
Had there really been a terrorist or Iraqi strike
here, Meigs Field could have been used for ambulance, police and fire
services and medical evacuation and supply. A while back, the mayor
asked the military to move out of O'Hare airport to Rockford 80 miles
away. He also neglected to do anything about the U.S. Coast Guard move
to Ludington, Mich., across the lake when at least their chopper could
have been based at Meigs.
As Iraqi supporters of Saddam Hussein carried
posters, "Democracy is Hypocrisy," the mayor helped prove
their point. Anywhere else, what he did would be called an act of
sabotage and people would have been jailed. But it seems the country
of Illinois, with a puppet as its governor, is becoming a dictatorship
with Chicago as its capital. Baghdad West?
Land grabs for O'Hare, the North-South Corridor,
telephone monopolies, and casino talks have all suddenly become signs
of increasing totalitarianism.
The night of March 30, the mayor decided to
celebrate the 100th anniversary of aviation by destroying an airport.
He wants to build yet another park, supposedly for the people, whether
they want it or not. They already have 552 parks, most of them in bad
The next night, I dreamed that Orville Wright,
Wilbur Wright, Lindy (Charles Lindbergh), Butch O'Hare and a couple of
other guys were sitting on the old hangar bench, their elbows on their
knees and faces in their hands. Just like that drawing of Abraham
Lincoln when John F. Kennedy was shot. Old Mayor Daley senior was
standing there with his hat in his hand, shrugging his shoulders in
apology. It is important to remember they weren't sad because an
airport closed. It was because what happened was un-American.
The next morning it was April Fool's Day, but this
was no joke. The mayor violated federal air regulations and the trust
of this country's aviation community.
Democracy means self-government. You vote for a
candidate you believe will do a good job for you. Beware, some have
their own agenda. In this case, the mayor got 78 percent of a very
small vote. Nothing to be proud of.
So when election time comes, vote, even if you know
your candidate might lose. Otherwise the winner gets a big head.
History shows that's how dictators are born.
Bad Day at Black Rock...Good Guys Down to Few Bullets
Message to public: Government in secret is fine?
Item 1: General
aviation had a very bad day for Meigs Field yesterday.
In mid-afternoon, the IL
appellate court lifted our stay (scheduled to expire 6/4
anyway,) eliminating the Temporary Restraining Order against
further demolition of Meigs. We'll have to evaluate our
situation once the legislature adjourns. The good news is
that the court fight got us one thing we hoped...a clean
shot at the Illinois Legislature.
Unfortunately, we fell just
short on round 1 in the legislature last night.
One more shot today in a few
hours. Read on...
Item 2: URGENT:
Call IL House TODAY--Sat. May 31--"Vote NO on H.B. 721"
will be too late.
This may be Meigs Field's
last chance in the Illinois State Legislature, given yesterday's
lifting of the stay against future demolition by the City of
Last night, the IL
Legislature pulled a "fast one," switching H.B.
721 for S.B. 802, adopting language expanding O'Hare
airport, but leaving out Meigs and Peotone.
The measure will come before
the IL House THIS MORNING, Saturday, May 31.
Please take a few minutes today to
call the IL House of Representatives to ask them to please
"Vote NO or PRESENT
to H.B. 721"
Make 3 calls:
Call your Representative. Find them online at www.elections.state.il.us|
|Everyone: Call the
Leaders of the House: |
House Speaker Michael Madigan, 217/782-5350 Fax:
House Majority Leader Tom Cross, 217/782-1331 Fax:
Item 3: Court
stay lifted--City free to continue Meigs demolition
the Chicago Tribune:
Lifting the only legal
barrier to Mayor Richard Daley's plan to convert Meigs Field
into a park, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled Friday that
Chicago has the right to remove the remains of a runway and
other structures at the now-closed lakeside airport.
The decision came a week
after a Cook County judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging
the shutdown of the airport on the basis of a violation of
the state's open-meetings law, failure to provide proper
notice of a runway closure and improper use of public land.
Despite the legal victory,
city officials said further demolition would not be
performed soon because the work would be awarded by bid, a
process that will take weeks, if not months.
Item 4: IL
Senate passes O'Hare expansion without Meigs -- VERY close (closer
than the final total)
||Unfortunately, we fell
just short on round 1 last night (actually early this
In the early evening, the City
pulled a switcheroo, substituting a shell House bill in the
Senate (H.B.721) for S.B. 802, and attached the O'Hare
language to it. We managed to get Sen. Meeks to introduce the
"Miller Amendment" (amendment 11 from S.B.802) to
H.B. 721, but of course it was sent to Rules and not called
(because they knew by then they had the votes.)
Here is the status of H.B.
Reportedly, Meigs was in pretty
good shape until just before the Executive Committee hearing
and vote about 10:30 P.M. What was reported to us was that
several key legislators were at that time bought off with side
deals. Earlier the Black Caucus traded its votes for
Amendment 2 (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09300HB0721sam002&
) a new special commission to oversee minority hiring, 13
members, 7 to be appointed by the Mayor, 4 by the Majority
Leaders, and 2 by the Minority Leaders (11 D's to 2
R's). We could see the handwriting when Minority Leader
Watson threw his support behind the bill, and even put himself
on as a co-sponsor. The Republican's remained split, but
nowhere near split enough.
The Bill passed out of
committee on an 8-4 (1 present) vote, and--after some pretty
heated floor debate, including very strong support for Meigs
from Senators Sieben, Lauzen, Wojick, Halvorson, and--my
favorite--Sullivan, who drew applause from the floor as well
as the gallery with "it's ironic we're dealing with
another Chicago airport issue in the middle of the
night"--passed the Senate 40-19.
According to conversations I
had with staff after the vote, the margin does not apparently
reflect how close we actually came to influencing this. Once
the outcome was clear, many who would have voted NO switched
and voted YES to avoid unnecessary rancor from the leadership.
Interestingly, Sen. President Jones batted clean-up in the
floor debate with an angry tirade against the
"hypocrisy" of the measure's critics, deriding
efforts to get a Peotone airport into the bill, but never once
criticizing Meigs supporters or even mentioning Meigs. I think
he knows in his heart what was done was wrong.
The voting record will be
available soon at:
The measure will go to the
House this morning (convenes at 10:00 AM, I don't know when
they take up concurrence votes.) Our only shot now is a
straight "Vote NO on H.B. 721" drive in the
remaining hours...the O'Hare amendment will be considered for
concurrence in the House, a straight Yes or No vote.
All is not hopeless...the
reason they switched to the Senate for the first round was
because apparently they did not have the votes in the House.
Don't know how the minority contracting piece plays in the
House...that "special commission" seems to me a weak
offer, but I'm not a Black Caucus member.
We'll be there working it this
AM...anybody wanting to join us at the capitol would be
welcome. (The friendly faces sure would be welcome,
Thanks, as always, for
everyone's hard work, support and good wishes.
--Steve Whitney, Chairman,
Friends of Meigs Field
Nellie! What a day!
Significant win from the jaws of
defeat -- Still far to go
Lead attorney Steve Novack
lawyers for Friends of Meigs Field
don't know if Meigs' supporters' hearts can take much more of
Consider these events today:
|11:00 A.M. -- Judge William Maki
dismisses all three counts in Friends of Meigs' state suit
to reopen Meigs, dissolves the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
preventing further damage to the airport by City
|Meigs is operating without a net and in
danger of imminent destruction over the holiday weekend.|
|2:00 P.M. -- Lawyers for Aircraft
Owners and Pilots Association file an emergency request for
a TRO from the judge hearing their similar suit in federal
court. Judge Moran denies the request. No relief
|Judge warns City and Park District
against rash action, but refuses to prohibit demolition.|
|City and Park District lawyers are
evasive on subject of whether demolition is planned over
|4:30 P.M. -- After working
feverishly for hours to prepare, lawyers for Friends of
Meigs file a last-minute emergency appeal to the Illinois
State Appellate Court, literally sprinting the last yards to
the court building at 160 N. LaSalle seconds before it
|4:45 P.M. -- State Appellate Judge
Patrick J. Quinn issues an emergency stay, keeping the TRO
in place until 4:00 P.M., Wednesday, June 4.
|News arrives during sidewalk press
conference; Meigs supporters celebrate...|
No time (or strength) to write more...stay tuned
(and sign up for e-mail updates, at left)
Here is a sampling of today's press releases and news:
Rep. David Miller,
introduced an amendment to S.B. 802 to reconstitute the historic
Ryan-Daley agreement in state law.
news from today's e-mail update:
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Announces $41 Million for Chicago
Win-win proposal benefits parks AND planes
Today, the Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association announced a bold new initiative to reopen Meigs Field
while simultaneously providing tens of millions of dollars to the cash-strapped
Chicago Park District.
AOPA president Phil Boyer, at a downtown Chicago news
conference, announced the proposal, which would provide $41 million in Federal
Aviation Administration funds to the Chicago Park District, provided Meigs Field
was reopened and operated as an airport. The funds would come from the
FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP.)
"Meigs Field is a showcase and a transportation icon of
Chicago," Boyer said. "The AIP funds would not only preserve this
important hub to Chicago's downtown and convention business, but it also would
give the Park District some much-needed revenue to maintain and improve existing
parks and services. The City and Park District just don't have the money to pay
for the $30 million needed to convert Meigs Field into a park, as the Mayor has
proposed. This solution makes good financial sense."
The AOPA plan calls for the Park District, the current owner
of the land, to sell Meigs to the City of Chicago for $41 million, which is the
fair market value of the property based on a July 2001 appraisal conducted by a
nationally recognized aviation expert, according to Phil Boyer, president of the
AOPA. As operator and sponsor of Meigs, the City can apply for and obtain the
funds necessary to purchase Meigs through the Federal Aviation Administration's
Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Additionally, the influx of capital would
allow the Park District to use part of Northerly Island, where Meigs is located,
to create a new park and improve others.
The Friends of Meigs Field immediately praised the
proposal. "This is exactly the kind of creative, win-win thinking
that should have been going on from the beginning," said group president
Rachel Goodstein. "The Chicago Park District is cutting back during
these lean times. Here is a way to have the airport and benefit parks
across the city, too."
Goodstein, a non-pilot, drew on her personal experience in her
comments. "I joined this effort not because I used Meigs regularly,
but because I was familiar with the condition of parks in Chicago's poorer
neighborhoods. At one park, they had no legs for their pool table.
The park staff was encouraged to solicit donations from local 'businesses,'
including drug dealers, to make ends meet. The idea that we should be
wasting millions of park dollars to destroy a valuable transportation asset made
In the Park District's most recent operating budget, operating
expenses except interest and debt payments have had to be cut back over $25
million dollars. The effect has been a struggle to make ends meet while
still trying to add new parkland in neighborhoods that are underserved. (A
1996 study, the City Space Plan, shows that Meigs' neighborhood, the Near South
Side, already ranks third highest in park acreage per capita, with 48 acres per
thousand residents. Over half of Chicago's 77 neighborhoods, many of them
poor, have less than the minimum standard of 2 open acres per thousand
The Friends of Meigs Field pledged to work with AOPA, other
aviation groups, and neighborhood Chicago organizations to bring these badly
needed dollars to the city's parks.
Read more on the AOPA proposal at their website: www.aopa.org
Vote in IL House committee
on Chicago airports today
amendment to S.B. 802, modifies O'Hare language, nothing
for Meigs or Peotone|
|To be voted on in Executive Committee of
the House today at 9:00 A.M.|
|Meigs supporters urged to call IL House
|Ask them to vote "NO" or
"PRESENT" on S.B. 802 unless and until language is
added to reopen Meigs Field|
Good day in court; Oklahoma backs Meigs
|Good news! At least another week
of life for Meigs! Ruling due on 5/23
|Judge William Maki heard
oral arguments today in the Meigs Field case (Illinois
Assn. of Air and Critical Care Transport vs. Richard
Daley et al) on the defendants' motion to dismiss the
case. He did not issue a ruling from the bench,
indicating instead that he would take the matter under
advisement and rule at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, May 26.|
|Stephen Novack (Novack
& Macey), lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, did an
excellent job countering arguments by lawyers for the
City of Chicago, Mayor Daley and the Chicago Park
District. Read more.|
|Today, the Oklahoma
Aeronautics Commission issued a resolution, calling the
Midnight Meigs Massacre an "act of domestic
terrorism," calling for the reopening of Meigs
Field, and supporting the efforts of the Aircraft Owners
and Pilots Association (and, we would presume, the rest
of the aviation industry) to do so. |
|The resolution also called
for the banning of federal and state funds to be used to
convert the airport into a park, and indicated that the
closure of Meigs may have an impact on future federal
funds for airports and transportation projects.|
|To the Oklahoma
Aeronautics Commission from Meigs supporters
everywhere: Thank you. We will honor your
efforts the best way we can: by working to the best of
our abilities to reopen Meigs ASAP.|
Springfield lobbying update
|Friends of Meigs Take
Springfield by storm
|Visits, calls having an
effect -- Contact YOUR state legislators today (see
|Out of state supporters contact
Senate leaders and your U.S. rep (see below)|
|Anecdotal reports indicate that IL
legislators are hearing the call to reopen Meigs, and
looking at ways to include Meigs in any legislation on
|State legislators and their staffs are
reporting calls from constituents asking them to reopen
|Friends of Meigs, allies run
newspaper, TV ads, see left|
The Friends of Meigs Field, NBAA, NATA, EAA and others have
taken out full-page ads and 30-second TV spots encouraging
legislators to act to reopen Meigs Field
|AOPA sends national lobbying team to
|Big News: Rep. Leitch (R, Peoria) introduces
in House to S.B.802, to reopen Meigs
|Based on language developed by AOPA|
|Amendment referred to House Rules Committee|
Still need to oppose passage of S.B. 802 unless and until Leitch
amendment or similar language reopening Meigs Field is passed
|Avweb: Controllers--Chicago airspace
unsafe after Meigs closure
|CONTROLLERS SAY CHICAGO AIRSPACE SAFETY
LEVEL "UNACCEPTABLE"... Air traffic
controllers say they can no longer keep the airspace
around Chicago safe and have asked the NTSB to
intervene. In a news release Wednesday, the National Air
Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said chronic
understaffing, rule changes and the extra burden of
traffic from now-closed Meigs Field have pushed ATC
staff and facilities too far. "The level of safety
has diminished below an acceptable level," said Ray
Gibbons, president of NATCA's Chicago chapter, who cited
deteriorating conditions and staff morale for a rash of
errors in recent weeks. More: http://www.avweb.com/newswire/|
Chicago Tribune, May 1: Air traffic controllers tell
of chaotic incident in sky
|Online Petition to Reopen Meigs Field
|An online petition to Chicago Mayor
Richard Daley has been started to reopen Meigs
Field. Over 6,700 electronic "signatures" have
already been collected.|
|This is not an official Friends of
Meigs Field endeavor, and we WILL soon be asking you
to take other, additional specific actions to
communicate your support for reopening Meigs to our
|Nevertheless, the more signatures
collected, the stronger the position for all actions to
|You can sign electronically by visiting
Daley heading to DC to ask for MORE transportation
|News reports indicate that
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is headed to Washington, DC
to lobby Congress for additional funds for
transportation infrastructure this week.
|If it's true, wouldn't
you like to be a fly on the wall as Chicago makes
its pitch for new transportation funding with a
what did you do with the dollars we ALREADY sent you
for transportation infrastructure?"|
plaintiffs beef up complaint
plaintiffs in the Cook County lawsuit that have at least
temporarily halted the bulldozers at Meigs Field filed
an amended complaint, yesterday. Responding to
comments by Judge Maki on the eligibility of some of the
initial plaintiffs to bring the "quo warranto"
(acting without authority) count against the City, two
new plaintiffs have joined the suit, strengthening it.|
addition, some of the limited information provided by
the City in response to the plaintiffs' discovery
request has been incorporated into the complaint.|
Magazine Weighs In
his April 28 column, Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard
writes under the headline "Mayor Daley's Big
|"This little jewel of an
airport was an asset to Chicago's business
Click to read|
|Rush Limbaugh takes Daley to task over
|Calling Meigs a "great
airport", today Rush criticized Mayor Daley today
for Meigs' closure.
|Supporters come out to Palwaukee|
|Fly in from as far away as South
|Judge: City must provide info on night
raid of Meigs Field (Full
|Back to Yellow Alert: Flight
Restrictions lifted over Chicago, NYC, and DC. City
fans fears again. (Chicago
U.S. House of
Representatives: Meigs closure "unprecedented,"
Yesterday, the U.S. House
Subcommittee on Aviation held hearingsin Washington
on general aviation. The attack on Meigs Field
dominated the testimony:
Chairman Mica (FL):
Suggested that the action may have ramifications for
Chicago's future transportation funding requests, saying
"It is pretty difficult to sit up here and listen
to requests for additional infrastructure when
destruction like that is taking place."
Ranking member DeFazio
(D, OR) suggested the troops of Iraqi Freedom practice
repairing airports by starting on Meigs Field
Rep. Boswell (IA):
destruction of the Meigs runway is "unprecedented
and, in my view, illegal."
Rep. Hayes (NC):
AOPA president Phil Boyer
presented a comprehensive presentation on Meigs, saying
that never had AOPA received such an outpouring of
e-mails and letters, not even after the national
airspace was closed following the 9/11 terrorist
Meigs damage repair cost
AOPA: $300,000 to $500,000
City: (verbal estimate:) $30,000,000 (More like
the cost of a whole new runway from scratch)
Whom do YOU trust?
Rep. Lipinski (D,
Chicago): AOPA should not "give hope" that
Meigs can be reopened.
(Pardon us, Rep. Lipinski, for respectfully
City of Chicago files
motion to dismiss lawsuit
Yesterday, the City of
Chicago filed a motion to dismiss the Friends of Meigs'
lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. The move is
a standard procedural maneuver, and was expected.
"Daley's Meigs alibi
announces it has just begun to
National aviation groups protest
to President Bush
- Air Medical Community Stunned Over Closing of Meigs and
the Implications on Critical Patient Transport into Downtown
Stranded aircraft leave Meigs
|The FAA has given a waiver for the
remaining 16 aircraft at Meigs Field to depart the airfield
using the taxiway.|
Releases, Articles & News Coverage
(National Air Traffic
(National Air Transportation Association)
(National Business Aviation Association)
(General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Association of Air and Critical Care Transport)
(Aircraft Owners & Pilots
articles - 1
City Uses Storm-Troop Tactics to
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