Meigs closed?


New Member
By Casey Bukro
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
Published March 31, 2003, 8:53 AM CST

Meigs Field, the city's lakefront airport, was closed early today after construction vehicles showed up overnight and dug up large portions of the runway.

At dawn, the view from the top of the Adler Planetarium showed a series of large, X-shaped portions of concrete carved out of the runway's center. Large, illuminated "X" signs marked either end of the runway. Sixteen aircraft appeared stranded, parked along a taxiway and unable to take off.
Steve Whitney, former president of Friends of Meigs Field, vowed to be in court in the morning to challenge the city's action. The organization has opposed Mayor Richard Daley's plan to close the airport and turn it into a park.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation said Daley would make a statement about Meigs later today.

About 11 p.m. Sunday, several backhoes, large trucks carrying floodlights and generators, and other equipment escorted by Chicago police arrived at the airport and started working on the north-to-south runway.

A Chicago police squad car blocked the access road to Meigs Field. An officer said the airport and park nearby were closed, and no pedestrian or vehicle traffic was being allowed in. He would not comment on the activity.

A night operations supervisor at the Great Lakes Division of the Federal Aviation Administration said she was not notified of any airport closing.

Daley originally intended to close the airport in February 2002 and turn it into a park and nature preserve, but held off doing so to win then-Gov. George Ryan's support for federal legislation backing the $6.6 billion expansion of O'Hare International Airport.

Under terms of a deal reached with Ryan in December 2001, Daley agreed to keep the lakefront airport open until Jan. 1, 2026, though Meigs could be closed anytime after Jan. 1, 2006 by a vote of the General Assembly.

The deal was supposed to have been solidified in federal legislation endorsing the O'Hare expansion. But earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, declared the federal bill dead because of the opposition of his Republican counterpart, U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

Meigs' closing also follows the federal decision, at Daley's request, to impose a no-fly zone March 22 for the city. Private aircraft were barred from flying within 3,000 feet of the ground over downtown Chicago and much of the North Side. At the time, the mayor thanked federal authorities but repeated his criticism of small aircraft being allowed anywhere near the Loop.

Whitney said Meigs is an important facility, as it is used by medical and air-sea rescue aircraft and could be used by emergency aircraft in the event of a disaster in downtown Chicago. "It makes absolutely no sense from any standpoint, particularly for homeland security, to close Meigs Field," he said.

"Something is going on. It's outrageous to not let people know what is going on," said Maggie Gauatier, a member of Friends of Meigs Field.

Laying the blame on Daley, Gauatier said, "We're not supposed to live in a police state. This is absolutely outrageous. It is in the middle of the night. Everything about it is creepy."

Two points:

1. Closing an airport without putting out a NOTAM constitutes a hazard to pilots and aircraft.

2. I believe that AOPA said recently that the TFR would not affect Meigs.

Sic'em AOPA!
Can he do that?

[/ QUOTE ]

He just did.

Welcome to a brand new world. Aviation is •ed.

Don't be surprised if you see other city's pull this same sh*t.
Oh man, that sucks.

They've been trying to axe Meigs well before 9/11 for a park.

I remember when I was living in Milwaukee, I think the attitude was "Parks for kids, let the rich fly their toys somewhere else".

Can he do that?

[/ QUOTE ]

My thoughts exactly...esp if there are aircraft stranded...

I'm so bummed out about this. I've wanted to fly to Meigs ever since, well, a long time.
I was finally going to go this summer, and make it the long solo x/c for my Commercial ticket. I was very much looking forward to it.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I sure hope that a few lawsuits get filed and the City of Chicago has to cough up a few bucks. That will teach them a lesson. What the hell are the guys who had planes on the field supposed to do?
They can probably get off from the taxiway if they are smaller planes, but if there are some jets parked there then there is going to be some sh*t hitting the fan here pretty quickly.

I agree, there should have been a NOTAM and it should constitute a hazard to pilots. What if someone filed it as their alternate and can't get in somewhere else? What do they do now?


John Herreshoff
A few years ago when I worked at San Jose Reid-Hillview, there was a big push to have the airport closed.

RHV was pretty much the only airport where you could economically park a private aircraft or flight train without having to deal with the SFO class B rather than driving to South County Airport or San Carlos.

Some of the developers and city councilmembers started drafting plans to close it and replace the property with condominiums and single family homes.

Apparently, some statisticians (or whoever) ran the numbers and figured out that if they closed RHV and built houses, crime in the area would nearly double from the abyssmal level it already was.
Oh, it's true R2F - check out:

What the hell are the air life-line, medevcac and air/sea rescue ops supposed to do now? I'm guessing O'Hare is the next closest airport and it's just too busy to support the ops that Meigs did. This is flat-out BS. He (Daly) Is damned lucky no one was on approach last night while he was playing construction worker.

They'll be lawsuits and in 10 or 20 years they may actually win but in reality Meigs is gone forever. A sad, sad day in aviation.

My dad used to fly Sen. Simon into that field on a regular basis and it was an airport I wanted to fly into myself.

When the hell did the U.S. turn into Stalinst Russia?

Seriously, WTF!?

Office of the Mayor:

Address: Office of the Mayor
121 N. LaSalle, Room 507
Chicago, IL 60602

Facsimile: 312-744-8045

Board of Ethics

740 North Sedgwick Avenue
Suite 500
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Telephone (312)744-9660
Facsimile (312)744-2793
TDD (312)744-5996

Send this sh*tbag, and his cohorts, a letter!

And if anyone comes up with a better e-mail address than this: post it!
So it IS true! DAMMIT!! So, didn't answer my question: Any chance Daly loses his job over it?

Seems to me he potentially (a) broke federal laws (b) put many at risk (c) abused his power....

..for the sole purpose of furthering his political stature.

What a F*#kin' prick!!
WHAT THE FVCK!! I was planning on going there for my FIRST time next month. Couldnt they have given a warning! like meigs will close in 3 months or something like that. I really hope some d1cks cut chopped off. I have always wanted to fly in there since I am only a 2 hour arrow flight away. I am so pissed, and the way they did it is so creepy.
Oh I doubt he loses his job. Why?

A) I bet the general public in Chicago could 1) care less or 2) believe that the existence of Meigs was actually a "security risk."

B) Apparently, according to AOPA, he's technically broken no laws (I find that hard to believe but it wouldn't surprise me if it's true).

C) Even if he does lose his job, lose the court battles, or lose public opion/support it'll be years in the process. If Meigs is ever ordered to be rebuilt it will need to go through the limbo that is building a '"new" airport and will likely never be rebuilt.

In reality Meigs has most likely been destroyed, forever.
Would defacing an airport without prior announcement constitute breaking the law? I really can't see how that was legal, and if it was, laws must be changed to prevent someone's wet dream turning into reality that same night.

I'd say at the very least, the safety hazzard posed by the presence of construction vechiles on the airport at night with no prior announcement or NOTAMs would be grounds to sue. Apparently, no damages occured so there is no case to be made.

Maybe the aircraft owners will have a (small) case against Daley for having their aircraft stranded.

In any case, this man is a poor leader who obviously makes uneducated decisions on impulse and worries about the consequences later. Seriously, this is the kind of thing I'd expect to hear happening in history books of the WWII era, not 2003 in the USA. But, under the guise of HOMELAND SECURITY, just about any right or privilege can be bulldozed overnight.
Damn Daley. He's as corrupt as they come! I hope he catches hell for this!

This is a sad day for aviation. This now sets the precedent for any mayor with airport troubles to just unilaterally bulldoze the place without regard to persons or property on the ground.

If I were an aircraft owner who owned an airplane I would be absolutely livid over this! Dropping $500,000-1,000,000+ is no small change and now Daley has just said to those people basically "kiss off." I see some really hefty lawsuits coming down the pike here!
Wouldn't it be justice if Daly has a heart attack and he can't be medvac'ed because of what he did to Meigs.

I see a couple of things happening here:

1. Any money Daly had from the FAA to improve O'Hare is gone. The FAA will take back their money ASAP.

2. If they let him keep the money he'll have to use it to repair Meigs.

3. I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure there are laws about interferring with a person's business. I suspect the FBO's lawyer will be in line behind that FAA, DOT, and the AOPA.

4. Daly is done as mayor of Chicago. People may support what he did, but once they start feeling the economic impact of no money to improve O'Hare and the city having to fight a million lawsuits I think they'll be less sympathetic to him.

I suspect Meigs will be back, but not any time soon. I also think that when it finally is back. It will be better than ever.

One more thought, he made an agreement with the state and federal governments, and once the lawsuits start flying (no pun intended) I think that the city council will have no choice, but to have Daly removed. What he did was clearly not in the best interest of the city.

My two cents.

Was just watching WGN news at 12, they showed some of Daley's press conference this morning on the shutdown. The new speculation on why he shut it down is not to make it a park but to put a new casino there!! Absolutely redamndiculous!