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

 

Meigs Field News Archives:

bullet2/10/05: Parks and Planes proposal to be debated on public TV TONIGHT!
bullet2/9/05 Park District slows concert approval process--Parks and Planes gets press
   Friends of Meigs destroy giant check in demonstration
bullet2/8/05: Park Board set to approve surprise 10,000 seat concert venue for Meigs
bullet1/26/05: FLASH! WBEZ to air piece on park planning sessions this morning
bullet1/26/05: TODAY! Park Meeting, Garfield Park, 6:00 PM, Wed. Jan. 26
bullet1/8/05: Alderman Moore endorses Parks and Planes at raucous Park District meeting
bullet1/3/05: Chicago Park District to Friends of Meigs: "Go away"
bullet12/7/04: Chicago high rise fire injures 34 -- Meigs' absence affects Fire Department
bullet12/7/04: City responds to FAA complaint, claims Meigs was "abandoned"
    Admits spending even more FAA money
bullet12/02/04: Friends of Meigs Dominate Contentious Park Meeting
bullet11/24/04: We need your help! Give us your examples of parks and planes co-existing
bullet11/13/04: Park District starts "planning process" for Meigs, hides airport ideas
bullet11/13/04: Solidarity flyover of park meeting
bullet11/10/04: FAA grants City extension to fight Meigs fines
bullet11/10/04: Letter to editor supports Meigs
bullet11/10/04: Chicago in budget crisis--Mayor proposes selling airports (We are not making this up!)
bullet11/10/04: Meigs polls by DemolitionDick.com
bullet11/10/04: Meigs humor: Gotta watch those Friends of Meigs
bullet10/1/04: FAA Announces Fines, Further Investigation of City for Meigs Closure
bulletEarlier news archives

2/10/05: Parks and Planes proposal to be debated on public TV TONIGHT!


WTTW Logo


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.)

Details:
Program:  Chicago Tonight
Channel:  WTTW Channel 11
Date:  Thurs. 2/10/2005
Time:  7:00 PM
Rebroadcast:  12:00 Midnight

More information:  http://www.wttw.com/chicagotonight/
 

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 year.

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 proposal.

“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 greater.”

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 in length.

“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.
 

2/8/05: Park Board set to approve surprise 10,000 seat concert venue for Meigs


ABC 7 Chicago's coverage
Click above for ABC 7's coverage of the story.

CBS 2's coverage
Click above for CBS 2's coverage

Upcoming 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.

 (Listen online at www.wbez.org, requires RealPlayer)

 


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 clicking here.

“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:

bulletMillenium Park concert venue (outdoor, seating 11,000, completed 2003, cost $450 million--triple original budget)
bulletSoldier Field (outdoor, seating 60,000, completed 2002, cost $600 million)
bulletPetrillo Band Shell (Grant Park, outdoor, capacity 60,000, used for Chicago music festivals)
bulletNavy Pier Tent (outdoor, seating 1,000 plus)
bulletOrchestra Hall (indoor, seating 2,500)
bulletNavy Pier Ballroom (indoor, seating 2,000)
bulletMcCormick Place Exposition Center (indoor, seating flexible, 2,000-15,000)
bulletDozens of other theaters and auditoriums

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

Back to CPR Homepage

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 848.

WBEZ is available to listen to online at www.wbez.org

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

Join us, show your support for reopening Meigs Field.

Artist's conception of Bessie Coleman Skypark
Artists' conception of the Bessie Coleman Park and Chicago Air Museum at Meigs Field

Wednesday, Jan. 26, Garfield Park Field House, 6:00 PM

The Chicago 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")

Tonight's 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).

Join 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.

Please speak on behalf of reopening Meigs Field

The meeting 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, click here.
 

1/8/05:  Alderman Moore endorses Parks and Planes at raucous Park District meeting

Alderman Joe Moore endorses Parks and Planes
49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore endorses the Parks and Planes proposal

It 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 (below.)

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.

chicagotribune.com

Alderman backs plan to rebuild Meigs Field

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 of Meigs.

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.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0501100043jan10,1,235604.story

1/3/05:  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

Chicago, 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:

  1. 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 2026.)
     
  2. 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.)
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. An opportunity to present the Parks and Planes/Bessie Coleman Skypark proposal to the head of the Park District and the Mayor of Chicago.
     
  5. 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!

12/7/04: Chicago high rise fire injures 34 -- Meigs' absence affects Fire Department



LaSalle Bank building fire
(Chicago Tribune photos)

Read the report:
 Meigs & Public Safety

Read the report, "Meigs and 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 Midway airport.

The "earwitness" 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:

9:24 PM:

"I'm listening to my scanner...

"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 Wireless BlackBerry"

9:53 PM

"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...."

10:21 PM

"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."

12:00 AM

"The chopper left for fuel again at 1100 and arrived back at the scene at 1157."

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 COORDINATION FACILITY.

12/7/04: City responds to FAA complaint, claims Meigs was "abandoned"

Admits spending even more FAA money

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 $8.4 million.

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 the FAA.

Chicago claims it was forced to use federal funds to destroy Meigs

The world's busiest "abandoned" airport

Click to enlargeWe 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 infrastructure.

Read more at www.aopa.org

City's legal brief: http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2004/041206meigs_response.pdf

12/02/04:  Friends of Meigs Dominate Contentious Park Meeting

Airport supporters call for mixed-use park, airstrip for Northerly Island


Meigs supporters dominated the
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 demolished airport.

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 Field.”

Contentious discussion

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.

Click here to read the details...
 

11/24/04:  We need your help! 

Give us your examples of parks and planes co-existing



Send us your examples of parks and planes co-existing.

Officials of the Chicago Park District are being quoted in the paper as saying:

"There are no parks where airstrips are a compatible use."

Baloney!

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 too!

Click here to submit examples...

11/13/04:  Park District starts "planning process" for Meigs, hides airport ideas

Plan_cover_small.jpg (21261 bytes)
Click 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 Meigs Field. 

"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 process... 

For the full story, click here.

11/13/04:  Solidarity flyover of park meeting


Photo from solidarity flyover.

Closing Meigs did not prevent overflights of downtown.


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 meeting.

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.

11/10/04: FAA grants City extension to fight Meigs fines

Airports Logo: Building Gateways to the Sky

According 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 airport.

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, huh?

Read the full story at:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0411100308nov10,1,427641.story

11/10/04: Letter to editor supports Meigs

In 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 "elitists."

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.

He concludes:

'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 come.'
 

11/10/04: Chicago in budget crisis--Mayor proposes selling airports

(We are not making this up!)


Chicago mayor Daley proposes selling the city's remaining airports, O'Hare and Midway
For Sale???

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 federal government."

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:  http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-budget10.html

11/10/04: 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


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:

bulletWhat's better and more useful? An airport or an ugly park? (photos included)
bulletIs the City of Chicago ANTI-General Aviation?
bulletIs the Daley administration and the city of Chicago TOO corrupt to own a casino???

To voice your opinions, visit

http://www.demolitiondick.com/daleypoll1.html 

PS -- DemolitionDick.com is not affiliated with the Friends of Meigs Field...
but it's sure hard to disagree with some of its views!

 



The original Demolition Dick doll, available at www.demolitiondick.com .

11/10/04: Meigs humor: Gotta watch those Friends of Meigs



Article from September 13 issue of Time Magazine
(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.

How 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

Federal Aviation Administration

Click here to read FAA press release.

The 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 diligently." 

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 clicking here.
 

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