REOPEN MEIGS FIELD!
Meigs Defense Fund:
us defend Meigs Field (click here)
For more current news stories, click here.
Plan to Re-Open
Meigs Wins Award
"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
The proposal, titled
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
here to read more...
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
funds for downtown projects sucking neighborhoods dry
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
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
Meigs closure blamed for
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.
the video and CBS 2's and Avweb's coverage: click here
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
about the Parks and Planes proposal by the Friends of Meigs
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.
presentation can be given in a half-hour, suitable for
breakfast or luncheon meetings, or expanded to an hour,
For details, or to request a speaker
District proceeds with park construction without public input
Still No Public Input Allowed on Meigs
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
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
the Chicago Tribune story
Higgins' cartoon, from April 1, 2004
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
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
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
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
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
FAA grants demand for
investigation into Meigs closure
City could face penalties over Meigs
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
"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.
here to read the details.
Paul Harvey supports Meigs on
CRAIN'S Joe Cappo praises Meigs Plan in farewell column
Crain's Joe Cappo praises Parks and Planes
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.
here to read the column.
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”.
to read the text.
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”
here to read the column.
Chicago Defender Endorses Parks
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
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
"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."
News report: FRIENDS OF MEIGS
MAKES CASE FOR REOPENED AIRPORT-PARK
Top item today from www.eaa.org:
Friends of Meigs Make Case for
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,
www.friendsofmeigs.org. 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
Goodstein presented over 17,000 signed petitions and
postcards to the Chicago Park District board, in support
of preserving Meigs Field.
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,
www.friendsofmeigs.org. 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.
of the many Meigs Field supporters at Thursday's
Chicago park budget hearing.
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.
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.
here for older items