Meigs Field News Archives:
2/10/05: Parks and Planes proposal to be
debated on public TV TONIGHT!
For Meigs supporters in the Chicago
area, tune in tonight to WTTW (Public television, Channel 11) at
7:00 PM for a panel debate on the future of Meigs Field.
Representing the Friends of Meigs
Field will be spokesperson Josh Levy. At this writing it
was uncertain whether Park Superintendent Tim Mitchell would
represent the park district. The program may be live (if
Mitchell cannot attend an earlier taping), or taped (Mitchell
apparently has a conflict of schedule for the actual air time.)
Program: Chicago Tonight
Channel: WTTW Channel 11
Date: Thurs. 2/10/2005
Time: 7:00 PM
Rebroadcast: 12:00 Midnight
2/9/05 Park District slows concert approval
process--Parks and Planes gets press
Friends of Meigs destroy
giant check in demonstration
Yesterday, the Chicago Park District
slowed down a controversial surprise proposal for a 10,000 seat
concert venue on the Meigs Field site, approving negotiations
for such a venue instead of approving a final contract.
The move means that the issue will
come back before the board for a final vote sometime later this
Opposing the move were both Steve
Whitney of the Friends of Meigs Field and Rachel Goodstein of
the Meigs Action Coalition.
Objections included site access,
parking security, lack of public input, environmental impact,
and the fact that by settling for a meager $800,000 per year in
revenue, the Park District was sacrificing a huge amount of
funding available from the Friends of Meigs' Parks and Planes
“This is all about money,” said
Whitney. “If they weren’t dangling some funds out there for
Northerly Island development, no park group would support this
action. Yet they are suppressing an opportunity over 100 times
Graphic Demonstration of
Funds Available: The Giant Check
During his comments, Whitney held
up a two mock checks and a bill to illustrate his point. “Here
is the bill to develop Northerly Island,” said Whitney, holding
up a large-sized document, a foot and a half high. “In 1996, the
Park District estimated it would take $26 million. Let
this size of this bill represent $26 million.”
“Here is the money being offered
by Clear Channel,” he said, holding up a tiny check, less than 4
inches long to compare to the size of the bill. "It doesn't come
close to covering the bill."
“Here is the money available from
our proposal,” he said, holding up a giant check almost 4 feet
“Yet this is what the Park
District wants to do,” he said, ripping up the giant check.
“It’s government at its worst.”
Coverage of the meeting was
included on several local TV stations, news radio and in both
major daily newspapers.
Park Board set to approve surprise 10,000 seat concert venue for
Click above for ABC 7's coverage of the story.
Click above for CBS 2's coverage
Watch tonight (Tues. 2/8) on NBC
Channel 5 Chicago (www.nbc5.com) at 10:00 PM, when Josh Levy of
the Friends of Meigs Field will be interviewed.
Also, tune in tomorrow (Wed. 2/9)
morning to WBEZ 91.5 Chicago Public Radio to hear comments by
Steve Whitney, president of the Friends of Meigs Field.
at www.wbez.org, requires
According to Chicago-area news reports, and corroborated by the
Chicago Park District's agenda for tomorrow's park board
meeting, the Park District Board of Commissioners is set to
approve a 3-year contract for a 10,000 seat "temporary special
event venue" on the site of Meigs Field.
Read the Sun-Times' coverage by
“This proposal is absurd,” said
Steve Whitney, president of the organization. “Meigs Field is a
lousy location for a festival site, especially one of this size.
Access is poor, via a single road; public facilities for ten
thousand concertgoers are non-existent; safety, security, and
parking would be a nightmare.”
“More importantly, no one wants
this type of activity there,” said Whitney. “While our proposals
for Meigs are being censored, we still have attended every Park
District planning meeting. Nobody at those meetings—not even our
opponents—thinks this type of activity is good for the site.”
The proposal is wasteful and
redundant. In the past 2 years alone, the Park District has
opened new public event venues totalling over $1
billion—including state-of-the-art concert facilities—at
Millennium Park and Soldier Field, both within walking distance
of the site.
Other concert venues within
walking distance of Meigs Field:
|Millenium Park concert venue (outdoor,
seating 11,000, completed 2003, cost $450 million--triple
|Soldier Field (outdoor,
seating 60,000, completed 2002, cost $600 million)|
|Petrillo Band Shell (Grant
Park, outdoor, capacity 60,000, used for Chicago music
|Navy Pier Tent (outdoor,
seating 1,000 plus)|
|Orchestra Hall (indoor,
|Navy Pier Ballroom (indoor,
|McCormick Place Exposition
Center (indoor, seating flexible, 2,000-15,000)|
|Dozens of other theaters and
The Park District—though
desperate for funds—has ignored and censored proposals for the
Meigs site that could bring in up to $100 million or more in
revenues. The Friends of Meigs Field have offered a mixed-use
proposal for a combination park/airstrip/air museum, funded
entirely by federal aviation funds, and providing scores of
millions in excess revenues to benefit neglected parks across
the city. The proposal has specifically been excluded from
options offered at Park District planning meetings. (Proposal
available online at www.friendsofmeigs.org)
“This is another example of the
‘bread and circuses’ approach,” said Whitney. “Distract them
with concerts and maybe they won’t notice the condition of the
parks in poor neighborhoods.”
01/26/05: FLASH! WBEZ to air piece on park
planning sessions this morning
An alert member just informed us that WBEZ, the Chicago
National Public Radio affiliate is scheduled to air a piece on
the park planning hearings this morning, both during the local
news segment on "Morning Edition" and on the program
WBEZ is available to listen to online at
848 Program audio archives are available at: http://www.wbez.org/audio_library/848_ra1.asp
1/26/05: TODAY! Park Meeting,
Garfield Park, 6:00 PM, Wed. Jan. 26
show your support for reopening Meigs Field.
Artists' conception of the Bessie
Coleman Park and Chicago Air Museum at Meigs Field
Wednesday, Jan. 26,
Garfield Park Field House, 6:00 PM
Park District plans the second in a series of public meetings to
“involve people from every part of Chicago in determining how
Northerly Island is used.” (We guess they mean people except
people who would like to see an airport return to Meigs Field.
See story, Chicago Park District to Friends
of Meigs: "Go away")
meeting is planned for Garfield Park, 300 N. Central Park Ave.
Future meeting locations will include: Humboldt Park (2/19),
Marquette Park (3/2), and South Shore Cultural Center (3/15).
us in supporting Parks and Planes:
What: Public meeting to gather input on the future of
Meigs Field/Northerly Island
When: Today! Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 6:00 PM
Where: Garfield Park, 300 N. Central Park Ave.
on behalf of reopening Meigs Field
will include informal "breakout" sessions to discuss possible
plans for Meigs Field. Please be prepared to voice your strong
support for a mixed-use, combination park/airstrip/air museum,
and your opposition to the closed planning process being used.
To learn the
details of the Parks and Planes proposal,
Alderman Moore endorses Parks and Planes at raucous Park District
49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore endorses the Parks
and Planes proposal
was another contentious planning meeting held by the Chicago
Park District on January 8 at Warren Park.
This time, Alderman Joe Moore from the
nearby 49th Ward participated, and made a public statement,
both endorsing the Friends of Meigs' Parks and Planes proposal
and protesting the heavy-handed approach of the Park District
planners who have excluded consideration of the proposal from
the start. The Chicago Tribune covered the story
Park District director of planning Arnold
Randall once again tried to tell Meigs supporters that they
did not belong at the meeting, but instead should take their
case to the City of Chicago "which manages
airports," ignoring the fact that the Park District
controls the land. This statement brought loud protests
from Meigs supporters who pointed out that this was the only
venue offered for input on the future of Meigs.
Perhaps most encouraging were statements by
more than one non-Meigs supporters. "Perhaps there
is a way to do both [a park and an airport]," said one
attendee. "I'd like to hear more about this
proposal." The Parks and Planes plan would create a
combination park/airstrip/air museum at Meigs and also bring
in up to $100 million or more in federal aviation funds for
upgrading other Chicago parks.
The next planning meeting is scheduled for
Wed. January 26 at Garfield Park on the west side.
Alderman backs plan to rebuild
January 10, 2005
CHICAGO -- Chicago Ald. Joe Moore
(49th) expressed support Saturday for a plan to rebuild
Meigs Field along with an aviation museum and nature
park on Northerly Island.
Moore, speaking at one of seven Park
District public sessions on the future of Northerly
Island, called for a "full and fair public
hearing" on the Parks and Planes plan proposed by
Friends of Meigs Field.
Under the plan, the district would
sell most of Northerly Island to the city, which would
cover more than 90 percent of that cost with federal and
state funds, to generate a district windfall of up to
$100 million, said Steve Whitney, president of Friends
Moore said some of that money could be
used to improve and build parks in his Far North Side
ward, which includes most of Rogers Park, one of the
city's most park-poor neighborhoods.
Mayor Richard Daley, who said he
ordered Meigs closed on March 30, 2003, for safety
reasons, long has backed a proposal to build a nature
park on Northerly.
Chicago Park District
to Friends of Meigs: "Go away"
Park District refuses
reasonable requests for changes to planning process
12/1/04 letter to Chicago Park District
requesting changes to the planning process
1/3/05 reply from the Chicago Park District
IL -- The Chicago Park District has refused a request by
supporters of Meigs Field to modify its process for planning
for Meigs Field.
Last October, the Chicago Park
District announced that it would seek public input on the
future of Meigs Field (aka "Northerly
Island.") The Friends of Meigs Field--though
concerned about how such a process might be conducted
determined to work cooperatively within the system as long as
that system was fair, open-minded, and inclusive.
When the first planning meeting
was held, several concerns were identified, including
censorship of ideas, disrespectful and divisive statements by
Park District representatives, and the lack of public hearings
on the closure of Meigs. The Friends of Meigs Field
requested 5 specific and reasonable changes to the process:
- One or more public hearings
on the closure of Meigs Field. (The current meetings
are not public hearings, are not held before
decision-makers, and have no opportunity to present
written or oral testimony. The only hearings since
1996 on the closure of Meigs Field were in 2001, from
which the decision was made to preserve the airport until
- Display of all relevant
proposals to the development of Northerly Island.
(Friends of Meigs' Parks and Planes proposal was
specifically excluded from display at the planning
sessions. When Friends of Meigs complained, all
other organizations' proposals were also censored.
We believe that the best approach is to air all ideas.)
- Modification of the
"visioning" exercise to include images of
mixed-use park/airstrip/air museum elements similar to
those proposed in the Parks and Planes proposal.
- An opportunity to present
the Parks and Planes/Bessie Coleman Skypark proposal to
the head of the Park District and the Mayor of Chicago.
- A commitment by the Park
District to cease disrespectful, divisive and knowingly
false statements by officials and to correct the record
when statements are shown to be false or misleading.
The Park District did not reply
before the second of seven planned meetings, and no changes in
the process were observed at that meeting.
Instead, on January 3, Mr.
Arnold Randall, Director of Planning and Development for the
Park District replied via letter, saying "concerns about
airport development can best be addressed through the City of
Chicago, who manages airport operations...It is not our
intention to conduct any planning sessions that focus on
airport development or any area that is not strictly related
to park development."
In other words, there is to be
no public say on either the decision to close Meigs nor the
possibility of a park/airstrip combination, no matter how good
it may be.
Welcome to Chicago!
Chicago high rise fire injures 34 -- Meigs' absence affects Fire
Bank building fire
Meigs & Public Safety
Learn how Meigs
Field benefits high-rise rescue efforts, lake searches,
disaster relief and air traffic control
Chicago, IL -- Last night a fire raged for over 5-1/2 hours in
a downtown Chicago high-rise office building, injuring at
least 34 people, and sending at least 25 to area hospitals,
including at least 8 firefighters, according to news reports. (News
coverage at: AP: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/H/HIGH_RISE_FIRE?SITE=MITRA&SECTION=US
Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/na/chi-041206highrisefire,1,5538569.story?coll=chi-news-hed
Moreover, the Chicago Fire
Department's response was, in some respects, hampered by the
absence of Meigs Field, forcing the Fire Department's
helicopter to have to leave the scene to refuel twice during
the blaze, for periods of nearly an hour. Meigs Field
would have been considerably closer and faster than the remote
account below was provided by Josh L., a Chicago pilot and
Friend of Meigs Field who listened to the Fire Department
radio conversations via his scanner:
"I'm listening to my
"The cfd chopper had to
leave the scene to go get fuel... Where, at midway. Meigs
would be much more convenient and faster... The chopper has
been on the scene and providing valuable pireps... Its an hour
into the fire, more trucks are being called to the scene and a
very critical time to leave the scene. The last pirep from the
chopper to squad was that the fire is not being contained, we
need to go to midway for fuel... This was at 824-825 pm on
fire dept freq 154.13. .... Now its 835, more trucks were
called to the scene... I will blog this until the chopper
returns on scene... Now 4 more engines called to the scene, no
chopper yet... Chopper back on the scene at 917 pm... Since
then the fire spread to the 30th floor, and mostly put out on
the 29th... That is a very long time for fuel, at least they
didn't goto 95th but meigs would have been faster!
"Sent from my Verizon
"The cfd chopper has
been providing reports on the status of the fire...when it was
gone, the fire spread to the 30th floor... When it came back,
it they called in the spreading fire and directed firemen in
the building as to the location and direction in which the
fire is spreading and gave them direction as from where to put
hoses and water... There is no doubt that the aerial
monitoring was valuable and that in the lengthy time it took
to refuel the fire spread...."
"My guess is that the
length of time to get fuel and come back to the scene has to
do with the fact that there is no cfd base there at mdw...
They do not have fuel tanks standing by, or ground crew
dedicated to the cfd.... They would have to wait for fuel on
the ground, I presume...that's all my thinking, not proven,
but probably right."
"The chopper left for
fuel again at 1100 and arrived back at the scene at
Temporary Flight Restriction over
fire would benefit from Meigs
At the same time, the FAA
issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) establishing a Temporary
Flight Restriction (TFR or "no-fly zone") around the
fire scene (see below.) If Meigs' control tower had been
in operation, it could have helped coordinate the air traffic
in the area:
TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS
FDC 4/3246 ZAU IL.. FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS
135 S LA SALLE STREETCHICAGO IL..
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PURSUANT TO 14
CFR SECTION 91.137(A)(2) TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN
EFFECT. ALL VFR FLIGHT OPERATIONS ARE PROHIBITED WITHIN
1 NAUTICAL MILES OF 41520N/08737W AND THE NORTHBROOK VOR/DME /OBK/
145 DEGREE RADIAL AT 26 NAUTICAL MILES AT AND BELOW 3,000 FEET
AGL, EXCEPT FOR MEDEVAC, LAW ENFORCEMENT, RESCUE/
RECOVERY, EMERGENCY EVACUATION AND FIRE FIGHTING OPERATIONS
WHEN AUTHORIZED BY ATC TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR FIRE.
CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT TELEPHONE 773-491-4461/ IS IN CHARGE
OF THE OPERATION. CHICAGO CENTER-ZAU, 630-906-8341 IS THE FAA
City responds to FAA complaint, claims Meigs was
Admits spending even more
According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
today, the City of Chicago has responded to the complaints
of the Federal Aviation Administration that it closed Meigs
Field without proper notice and illegally used FAA Airport
Improvement Funds to demolish Meigs.
In the City's response to the
FAA filing in October, the City of Chicago claims that Meigs
was an "abandoned" airport (remember, there were a
dozen aircraft left stranded the night they tore up the
runways!) The City also claims it should not be penalized
for using--not $1.5 million as originally claimed-- but $2.8
million in federal Airport IMPROVEMENT Funds (emphasis
added) for the demolition of the airport.
The FAA is proposing to fine
the City the maximum possible for the lack of notice of the
closure, $33,000, but fines could skyrocket if it is found
that the City illegally diverted federal funds. If the
City is found in violation and refuses to repay the money,
fines could be triple the amount of the misspent funds, or
The FAA's action comes in
response to a complaint filed by the Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association following the airport's demolition in the
spring of 2003.l
AOPA's coverage is excerpted
below. Visit their website at www.aopa.org
for the details, including a copy of the City's response to
Chicago claims it was forced to
use federal funds to destroy Meigs
The world's busiest
We had to spend airport
funds. Meigs Field was an "abandoned"
airport that had to be cleaned up! That's the gist of
Chicago's response to an FAA probe into whether the
city illegally used federal funds.
And from here, as Lewis
Carroll would say, it gets curiouser and curiouser.
Incredible as it may seem, the city's attorneys argued
that if Chicago hadn't spent that money, it might have
had to sue itself for not removing the runway,
taxiways, control tower, and other airport
Read more at www.aopa.org
Friends of Meigs Dominate Contentious Park Meeting
Airport supporters call for mixed-use park,
airstrip for Northerly Island
Meigs supporters dominated
Chicago Park District Northerly Island
planning meeting at Portage Park.
Friends of Meigs ask for calm from supporters,
demand changes in “planning process”
Portage Park, Chicago, IL – A strong
turnout of Meigs Field supporters tonight dominated the second
Chicago Park District meeting to determine the fate of the
The majority of the group of about 35 people
appeared to be supporters of Meigs Field. Many of the rest
said they had no objection to returning the important reliever
airstrip to Chicago’s lakefront.
From the introductions onward, airport
supporters voiced strong support for the concept of a park for
Northerly Island that would incorporate an active airstrip as
a centerpiece attraction in a mixed-use park/airport/air
museum complex for the Museum Campus.
“I’m here to express support for the
airport,” said one attendee, “the way it was.”
“I’m here because I’d like to explore
a mixed-use vision for the island, with fishing, and sailing
and aviation,” said Josh Levy, “And I’d like everyone to
know about how the Park District can receive up to $100
million dollars for parks across the city by reopening Meigs
The meeting started to turn contentious when
Christopher Gent, the Deputy Director of Planning for the Park
District introduced the “visioning” exercise, in which
participants were given green (“like”) and yellow (“dislike”)
stickers to apply to a collage of photos of possible park
elements under consideration.
“Are there examples of mixed-use parks and
airports?” asked one attendee. When informed that there were
not, several others in attendance expressed anger and disgust.
“This is rigged,” shouted one Meigs
supporter. “The fix is in,” said another.
here to read the details...
We need your help!
Give us your examples of parks and planes
Send us your examples of parks and planes
of the Chicago Park District are being quoted in the paper as
are no parks where airstrips are a compatible use."
This is flat out untrue. There are
hundreds if not thousands of airports in the U.S. alone where
parks and airports co-exist side by side.
In the Chicago area alone, Palwaukee Airport
is adjacent to the Cook County Forest Preserve, and DuPage
Airport is adjacent to a golf course. Many small
airports exist right in state and national parks. Many
more have parks adjacent with observation areas to enjoy the
excitement of planes taking off and landing.
Help us prove them wrong!
Send your examples of parks and planes
co-existing. If you have electronic pictures, send them
to submit examples...
Park District starts "planning process" for Meigs, hides
to view "Parks and Planes"
Friends of Meigs outnumber all other groups
Chicago, IL -- On Saturday, November 13, the
Chicago Park District finally began planning the park it wants
to replace Meigs Field, over a year and a half after the
airport's illegal midnight destruction.
In what will be the first of seven public
"visioning" sessions, the Park District sought
public input on the elements of the park that would replace
the famed downtown airport. Friends of Meigs supporters
were the largest single bloc of attendees, outnumbering all
other groups represented at the meeting, with over 20 of the
60 or so attendees members or supporters of the Friends of
"It was gratifying to see the
turnout," said Steve Whitney, president of the Friends of
Meigs Field. "If the Park District really cares
about the public's input, their eyes were opened on
Saturday." The Friends of Meigs presented over
13,000 electronic petition signatures, and over 650
well-written letters of support for the Parks and Planes
plan. The plan would include an operating airstrip as
one feature in a mixed-use park/airport/air museum attraction
for all Chicagoans.
Planning director Arnold Randall tried to
maintain a fair appearance in his comments, saying that no
idea would be rejected in advance, but actions and statements
by the Park District tended to cast doubt on the good faith of
the full story, click here.
Solidarity flyover of park meeting
Thanks to all who participated
Chicago, IL -- During the Meigs planning
meeting, there was a constant stream of overflying aircraft,
in solidarity with those Friends of Meigs attending the
We thank those who participated in the
flyover, both for standing with us in our efforts to re-open
Meigs, and for demonstrating that the closure of Meigs did not
prevent aircraft from flying over downtown Chicago, contrary
to the false claims made by Mayor Daley when he ordered the
midnight destruction, supposedly to prevent terrorism.
According to one pilot, Midway approach
control was helpful in providing traffic advisories.
This is truer on quiet weekend mornings than during busy rush
hour traffic, when it can be next to impossible to get flight
following along the VFR lakefront corridor.
grants City extension to fight Meigs fines
to the Chicago Tribune, the Federal Aviation Administration
has given the City of Chicago an additional 30 days to respond
to its proposed fines for the illegal closure of Meigs Field.
In early October, the FAA
announced that a year and a half investigation had concluded
that the City of Chicago DID in fact violate the law when it
closed Meigs Field on the night of March 30-31, 2003 without
warning. Not only did the FAA propose the maximum
allowable penalty of a $33,000 fine for failing to give proper
notice of the closure, but it also announced a new
investigation into the probability that the City improperly
used $1.5 million in federal aviation funds for the demolition
that should have gone for capital improvements at O'Hare
The FAA gave the City until
December 3 to respond to its proposed fines. If the City
is found to have improperly diverted funds, and it refuses to
repay the monies, the City could become liable for fines up to
triple the amount diverted, or over $4.5 million.
Nice use of tax payer money,
Read the full story at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0411100308nov10,1,427641.story
Letter to editor supports Meigs
a letter to the editor appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times
yesterday, writer Jim Timble takes the head of the Chicago
Park District and the Mayor of Chicago to task for their
hypocrisy in calling the users of Meigs Field
In his letter, entitled
"Can't Hide the Travesty," Timble cites the
thousands of youngsters who first tasted flight at Meigs in
the Young Eagles program, the hundreds of thousands of
commuter air passengers, and all of the citizens of Chicago
who benefit from the "air and water safety, security and
control tower personnel" provided by Meigs Field.
'In truth, the demolition of
Meigs Field served the best interest of only one elite
individual, Mayor Daley, who engineered its covert
destruction, knowing full well that a referendum of Chicago's
non-elite citizenry -- its ''common people'' -- would have
preserved this much-needed aviation facility for many years to
Chicago in budget crisis--Mayor proposes selling airports
(We are not making this up!)
Mayor Daley is floating the idea of selling Chicago's airports
to the highest bidder.
According to a full-page story in yesterday's Chicago
Sun-Times, the City of Chicago is in such dire budget
straights that it is floating the idea of selling its
remaining airports, O'Hare and Midway, to raise cash.
The article, "Will city
airports go private?" by Fran Spielman, Mayor Richard
Daley says "we're looking at it, but you have to see how
[O'Hare] was created--and if there's...any restrictions by the
The article notes that the FAA
prevents any airport sponsor that accepts federal aviation
funds from diverting funds from those airports for other,
non-airport purposes. Chicago accepted for O'Hare,
Midway and even Meigs Field, although in a politically
motivated move, the FAA forgave the Meigs grants in 1996.
Read the entire story at:
Meigs polls by DemolitionDick.com
"Dick's Casino Chip" and other Demolition Dick news,
graphics, and products
including The Daley Blog
are available at www.demolitiondick.com
the website that brings you the official "Demolition
Dick" dolls, has started 3 polls. (Hardly unbiased,
but still fun.)
You can express your opinions
on such questions as:
|What's better and more
useful? An airport or an ugly park? (photos included)|
|Is the City
of Chicago ANTI-General Aviation?|
|Is the Daley administration
and the city of Chicago TOO corrupt to own a casino???|
To voice your opinions, visit
DemolitionDick.com is not affiliated with the Friends of Meigs
but it's sure hard to disagree with some of its views!
The original Demolition Dick doll, available at
humor: Gotta watch those Friends of Meigs
Article from September 13 issue of Time
(click to enlarge)
Check out the passenger's hat!
Airport security is soon to get more touchy-feely.
A recent article in Time
Magazine points this out, reporting that soon the
Transportation Security Administration will have the authority
to perform more intrusive hand searches. The article,
entitled "A Feel for Airline Security," is
accompanied by a photo of a passenger who has been singled out
for special screening at O'Hare airport.
was he selected for special treatment?
We'll never know.
But we hope it wasn't because
of his wardrobe!
Friends of Meigs Field--we're everywhere!!
10/1/04: FAA Announces Fines, Further Investigation of City
for Meigs Closure
here to read FAA press release.
Federal Aviation Administration today announced that it is
taking legal action against the City of Chicago for its
closure of Meigs Field, proposing the maximum fines allowed by
law, and investigating possible misuse of federal aviation
funds totaling over $1.5 million.
The agency, in a press
release, announced it is proposing the maximum penalty
allowed by law for the improper closure of Meigs Field without
notice during the night of March 30, 2003. The fine of
$33,000 represents the maximum of $1,100 per day for thirty
days. Federal regulations require 30-day notice of the
closure of airports like Meigs. After Meigs' closure,
Congress was so outraged, it passed a law, dubbed "The
Meigs Act" increasing the fine to $10,000 per day for
future incidents in the U.S.
"This proves we've been
correct from the start," said Steve Whitney, president of
the Friends of Meigs Field. "The City closed Meigs
illegally and under false pretenses. They should
apologize and make amends."
While more details need to be
disclosed, the FAA's announcement seems to indicate the agency
did not find any "emergency" for closing Meigs
Field. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had cited unspecific
fears of "terrorism" for closing Meigs, but in
reality has sought for years to close the downtown reliever
airport for a city park.
Perhaps more significant than
the fines proposed by the FAA, is the announcement that the
agency has initiated an investigation into the possible misuse
of over $1.5 million in restricted federal aviation funds for
the demolition of Meigs Field. If the City is found to
have misused these funds and refuses to repay them, it could
be liable for triple damages, or nearly $5 million in fines.
All of the fines proposed would
come from city funds.
"We are heartened by
today's decision," said Whitney. "While the
findings will not force the re-opening of the airport by
themselves, they add credibility and force to our
efforts. We applaud the Aircraft Owners and Pilots
Association for pursuing this complaint so
The AOPA initiated the
complaint with the FAA against the City of Chicago immediately
after the closure last year, and the Friends of Meigs Field
provided valuable information about the specifics of the
closure, the timeline, and the City's actions.
The Friends of Meigs Field
continue to work toward a compromise plan to re-open Meigs
Field as a combination park/airport/air museum for the
citizens of Chicago. Details of this "Parks and
Planes" proposal are available by
here for older items