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Friends of Meigs Field
Dedicated to the restoration, preservation & improvement of Chicago's downtown airport



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5/21/04:   Plan to Re-Open Meigs Wins Award

Publicity Club of Chicago -- 2004 Golden Trumpet Awards
Parks and Planes -- A Vision for Meigs Field and Northerly Island

"Parks and Planes" proposal wins recognition from Chicago groups

May 21, 2004

(Chicago, IL) - Advocates of re-opening Meigs Field got a boost today, when a Chicago trade organization recognized a proposal by the Friends of Meigs Field with one of its highest awards. The Publicity Club of Chicago presented a Golden Trumpet award to the Friends of Meigs for its innovative plan to re-open Meigs Field as a combination park/airport/air museum.

The proposal, titled "Parks and Planes: A Vision for Meigs Field and Northerly Island," received the award at the PCC's annual awards luncheon, in the category of Best Book, Brochure or Booklet. The PCC is the nation's largest public relations membership organization.

Click here to

5/3/04:   Meigs closure may have already cost its first life--sure to cost more  

Chicago Fire Dept. rescue helicopters on alert at Meigs Field after terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.

Has the destruction of Meigs Field already cost lives?

It could be.

On Sunday, April 25, 2004, a distress call for "something in the water" was received by the Chicago Fire Department.  The CFD's helicopter rescue squad was formerly based at Meigs, but is now located 10 miles farther south, near the Illinois-Indiana border.  With the extra transit time, by the time the helicopter could reach the distress call at 5800 North, nothing could be seen in the lake any longer.

Probably a false alarm...this time.  But what about when it happens for real?  How many lives must be lost before something is done?

Read the whole account by "Chicago Ed" Schwartz, published in the Lerner Newspapers on May 3, 2004. 
2/13/04:   Park funds for downtown projects sucking neighborhoods dry 

Sun-Times columnist
Mark Brown says "many worthwhile projects are backed up in the neighborhoods"

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown details the plight of Haas Park to obtain funds for modest improvements.

Despite years of promises, the park, located in Logan Square--ranked 72nd out of Chicago's 77 neighborhoods in park space per capita--languishes for lack of funds.

At the same time, the new $450 million boondoggle called "Millennium*" Park is finally set to open downtown, and the Chicago Park District is poised to spend even more funds to convert Meigs to a park (see item above.)

Brown quotes Phil Jones, head of the Haas Park Advisory Council, as saying, "We've been waiting, waiting, waiting," Jones said. "We deserve it. Why not us?" 

As Brown writes: "Before the next mega-project begins, that question deserves an answer."

4/30/04:  Meigs closure blamed for airliner scare  

CBS 2 Chicago video screen shot
A low flying airliner over Sox Park is being blamed on the closure of Meigs Field's airspace

On April 30, a low-flying airliner over U.S. Cellular Field during a Chicago White Sox game gave the crowd a scare.  A report by CBS 2 TV in Chicago hypothesizes that the event was the result of the closure of Meigs Field's airspace, allowing jets circling to land at Midway to fly closer to downtown and the ballpark.

Links to the video and CBS 2's and Avweb's coverage: click here

4/14/04:   Friends of Meigs Speakers Bureau:
Let your local group hear about win-win Parks and Planes plan

Hear a presentation about the
Parks and Planes proposal

Need a speaker for your Chicago-area community or business group?

Hear about the Parks and Planes proposal by the Friends of Meigs Field.

The Friends of Meigs have established a speakers bureau with an exciting PowerPoint presentation detailing the need for Meigs Field, the Parks and Planes proposal, and its many benefits to Chicago, its citizens, its parks, and its aviation system, including millions of dollars for park improvements across the city.

The presentation can be given in a half-hour, suitable for breakfast or luncheon meetings, or expanded to an hour, including Q&A.
For details, or to request a speaker contact us.


4/13/04:   Park District proceeds with park construction without public input  

Still No Public Input Allowed on Meigs Park

Despite the continuing lack of public input into the future of Meigs Field, the Chicago Park District is moving forward with a "minimalist" park at Meigs, planned to open as early as July, 2004.  The "park" will be little more than grass, and a few sidewalks.

Representatives of the Friends of Meigs Field and the Committee for a Better Chicago attempted to give public comment during the committee meetings of the Chicago Park District board on April 13, 2004, but were told that--because Meigs was not on the agenda--their comments were not welcome.

Some comments were submitted instead under the agenda item for raising fees at the public museums, emphasizing that the Friends of Meigs' Parks and Planes plan would provide funds that could eliminate the need for fee increases.

The Park District board, true to past form, ignored the comments and voted to increase the fees.

Read the Chicago Tribune story

4/1/04: Jack Higgins' cartoon, from April 1, 2004    

From the Chicago Sun-Times editorial page:

Click to enlarge in browser window.
Available at: Higgins cartoon--Sun-Times.gif

3/30/04:   Medevac group calls for reopening Meigs

Illinois Association of Air and Critical Care Transport members ran 200 missions per year into Meigs Field

On March 30, the Illinois Association of Air and Critical Care Transport issued a strong statement opposing the closure of Meigs Field and endorsed the Friends of Meigs' Parks and Planes proposal.

Members of IAACCT, the trade association for professionals involved in the transport of critically ill and injured patients and organs for donation ran as many as 200 missions a year into and out of Meigs Field, using both fixed wing and rotary (helicopter) aircraft.  Now without Meigs, access to many downtown Chicago hospitals has become problematic.

Linda Ptack, president of the organization, in a prepared statement, said that the closure of Meigs has "significantly impacted air medical operations" and that "these time delays for time critical patients can have a negative impact on patient outcomes."

Read IAACCT's statement

3/30/04:   New neighborhood coalition supports reopening Meigs 

Also on March 30, the Committee for a Better Chicago--a new civic coalition of 90 organizations--endorsed the Parks and Planes proposal of the Friends of Meigs Field.

Group leader William Walls spoke to a press conference called by the CFABC, saying that "democracy was bulldozed in Chicago" the night Meigs Field was demolished.  Group members wore buttons mourning "the Day Democracy Died in Chicago" (see left.)

Walls pointed out that the Park District has had to raise fees to make ends meet--Little League fees have reported risen from $1,800 to $8,200 per league since 2003--and yet is willing to waste millions on replacing Meigs with a park.  (The Parks and Planes plan could create a park/museum/airport complex from Meigs using FAA funds, and leave perhaps $100 million in excess funds for local parks.)

Walls also cited that public safety has declined, not risen, since Meigs' closure, and said that when Mayor Daley called was complaining about "Mickey and Minnie" getting a flight restriction, he acted like "Pinocchio," lying "again and again."

Read Walls' remarks

2/13/04:  FAA grants demand for investigation into Meigs closure  

Federal Aviation Administration

City could face penalties over Meigs closing

The Chicago media reported on Feb 12 that Mayor Daley's middle-of-the-night order last year to demolish the runway at Meigs Field could bring fines against the city of Chicago.

The Federal Aviation Administration said its regional office in Chicago was launching an informal investigation into the city's action last March to close Meigs without giving advance notice. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) filed a formal complaint following the destruction of Meigs' runway on Mayor Richard M. Daley's order, claiming the city failed to provide adequate notice, as required by the Federal Aviation Regulations.

 "It's critical that there be an investigation, and the public will hear about it,” said Rachel Goodstein, president of Friends of Meigs Field.  "The closure was clearly unlawful, and a strong message needs to be sent that this is unacceptable both in Chicago and elsewhere across the country."

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said that if the FAA finds wrongdoing on the city's part, it could assess a civil penalty of $1,100 per day.

Click here to read the details.

2/4/04:  Paul Harvey supports Meigs on national radio  

Hall of fame broadcaster Paul Harvey: "Mr. Mayor, you're wrong"
National radio commentator Paul Harvey criticizes Meigs closure and supports Friends of Meigs' proposal.

Click here to listen to Paul Harvey's commentary.

1/26/04: CRAIN'S Joe Cappo praises Meigs Plan in farewell column

Crain's Joe Cappo praises Parks and Planes proposal

In his last regular column in Crain’s Chicago Business, veteran business writer Joe Cappo chose to focus on the Meigs Field situation and Friends of Meigs Field's PARKS AND PLANES plan.

Click here to read the column.

January 5, 2004:  Friends of Meigs president in letter to editor:
"Wake up, Chicago"
On January 5, 2004, the Chicago Sun Times published a featured letter by FOM’s President, Rachel Goodstein, entitled, “Wake Up to the Need for Meigs Field”.

Click to read the text.

December 11, 2003: Sun-Times publishes pro-Meigs op-ed column

Friends of Meigs chairman, Steve Whitney

On December 11, 2003, the Chicago Sun Times published an op-ed piece by FOM’s Chairman and Founder, Steve Whitney entitled, “Voters should have a chance to air opinions on Meigs”

Click here to read the column.

December 11, 2003:
Chicago Defender
Chicago Defender Endorses Parks and Planes
  The Chicago Defender--Chicago's daily African-American newspaper of record--published an editorial endorsing FOM’s plan, PARKS AND PLANES. The Chicago Defender is a 98 year old newspaper historically serving Chicago's African American community.

Excerpts from the editorial:

"...The Park District can add park space to the Meigs Field peninsula for the first time in 50 years and create the Bessie Coleman Aviation Museum under a Friends of Meigs Field plan that would bring serious revenue to Chicago. With determined action, stimulated by public pressure, the Park District could take advantage of its opportunity to sell the airfield land..."

"The public should demand that the Park District redevelop Meigs Field as an airport, create park space and build the Bessie Coleman Museum. And public input should be vociferous. Citizens speaking up about Park District plans for the Meigs peninsula would be something new. There was no public input when Mayor Daley took bulldozers to the field. But now the people have an opportunity to speak..."

"It's advertised at City Hall that His Honor has a sentimental reason for blocking the Bessie Coleman idea. Public relation staffers say he has promised his wife Maggie Daley that he would preserve the peninsula as park land. That's a touching thought, but there are ways to build a greater monument. One of them is to adopt the proposal developed by the Friends of Meigs Field."


Experimental Aircraft Association

Top item today from

Friends of Meigs Make Case for Reopened Airport-Park

December 12, 2003 - On Thursday, the Friends of Meigs Field (FOM) presented its proposal, “Parks and Planes,” at the Chicago Park District board budget hearings, and today asks aviation enthusiasts everywhere to express their support through a special message to the board, accessed from its website, FOM’s proposal, presented before a large contingent of airport supporters including many EAA members, combines a re-opened airport with new parkland—the Bessie Coleman Skypark—and a new Chicago Air Museum

Rachel Goodstein presented over 17,000 signed petitions and postcards to the Chicago Park District board, in support of preserving Meigs Field.

Excerpted from:
EAA News

December 12, 2003 - On Thursday, the Friends of Meigs Field (FOM) presented its proposal, “Parks and Planes,” at the Chicago Park District board budget hearings, and today asks aviation enthusiasts everywhere to express their support through a special message to the board, accessed from its website, FOM’s proposal, presented before a large contingent of airport supporters including many EAA members, combines a re-opened airport with new parkland—the Bessie Coleman Skypark—and a new Chicago Air Museum. 

Some of the many Meigs Field supporters at Thursday's Chicago park budget hearing.

The proposal includes tens of millions of dollars in federal aviation funding that could be used for improving other parks in the system. The cash-strapped park district faces a $30 million deficit and proposes tax and fee increases along with spending cuts to make up the difference. FOM estimates that their proposal could bring in at least $41 million and as much as $139 million or more for city parks.

The park board graciously offered FOM a full 15 minutes for their presentation. Most speakers were limited to between 2 and 5 minutes. Group president Rachel Goodstein and chairman Steve Whitney made the presentation, complete will full-color illustrations, and received loud applause at the end. The park commissioners listened attentively to the presentation, some even appearing to nod in understanding or approval. A significant number of the other speakers also praised the plan, each receiving loud ovations. The few opponents were greeted with silence from the crowd.

The Friends of Meigs urges all aviation supporters to visit their website, in the coming days and compose a message of support for the plan on the site’s automatic “Send a Message to the Chicago Park District” form. Next Wednesday, December 17, while the world celebrates the centennial of powered flight, the park board will vote on the proposed budget. A vote for the present budget—one that excludes re-opening Meigs—would not kill the proposal, but would not move it forward.

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Friends of Meigs Field
P.O. Box 59-7308 , Chicago, IL 60659-7308
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