Chicago Meigs Field (CGX) is Dead … Really

By Robert Mark on January 22nd, 2013

doldNot long ago, I had a chance to visit some old friends here in Chicago when I took the family down to a few of the Chicago museums on the east edge of downtown. Having survived 12 years of the Chicago Public School system, I know the former field-trip destination pretty well. The museum campus, as they call it nowadays, is the central stop for visitors to the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium … and a small local park at Northerly Island edged right up to the lakefront near the McCormick Place Convention Center.

The Chicago Field Museum last week also happened to be the site of a Chicago Tribune forum on the Future of Chicago. The Tribune’s editorial director Bruce Dold sat down for an hour-long chat with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff. Always the big mouth, I managed to ask an aviation question at the session about Northerly Island and the airport that used to sit there, Chicago Meigs Field (CGX).

CGX1

The old control tower at Meigs sits idle, still waiting for airplanes.

A Little History — But first a few facts for those of you too young to remember Meigs.

Despite having grown up in the Second City, I never realized Northerly Island was the site of the 1933 World’s Fair, called the Century of Progress, to celebrate Chicago’s hundred-year birthday. The name became a little more famous to me in the early 80′s when I worked as an air traffic controller at Meigs Field. I also remember one of my early charter pilot landings there in a Citation on runway 18 scaring the cr** out of me, but I’ll save that story for another day.

But it really wasn’t til 1995 when I met another local pilot — Steve Whitney — at an aviation event in one of Chicago’s north suburbs that the impact of Northerly Island really took hold. I saw Steve sitting alone behind a little table with a few photos and a sign that said, “Save Meigs Field.” He’d formed an organization called, “The Friends of Meigs Field (FOM),” which I’d never heard of at the time. But I listened to his pitch. He spoke passionately and politically about how the City of Chicago wanted to close the airport to build a park, which as a city resident I found pretty odd. The city had miles of lakefront parks already. I learned that the Chicago Park District actually owned Northerly Island … and they wanted it back from the biz jet pilots. I learned Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had a thing about aviation. He just didn’t care. He didn’t like little airplanes messing up his skyline views. Only later did I realize that he really didn’t even care about the airlines or business aviation either … just the money they contributed to his city coffers. But Daley was also a powerful Democrat not just locally, but nationally. He was not to be fooled with.

It was no surprise then in 1996 when Daley closed Meigs Field. To this day, I still tell Steve Whitney that he and his FOM directors are some of the best PR folks I’ve ever known. Thanks to some astute political maneuvering, much of it by the Friends of Meigs in fact, the Governor of Illinois signed an agreement with Daley to reopen the airport until at least 2002. Privately though, Mayor Daley was not happy about having his nose tweaked by the FOM, despite the agreement he signed. The Friends of Meigs had a target on their back from that day forward.

Meigs_closed_3-31-03_aerial_Tribune_David_KlobucarConsidering Mr. Daley’s reputation, I was surprised to learn of a Meigs provision in a 2001 landmark decision signed by the Mayor and the Governor to expand O’Hare Airport, a process that continues today with a new east-west runway due to open at ORD this fall.

Surprisingly, the deal came with strings for Daley. He never liked not having the last word. In order to expand ORD, Daley had to agree to begin construction of a third airport near Peotone IL (EON) and also, to preserve Meigs until 2026. Chicago’s aviation community rejoiced. But the party was short lived.

Everything changed during the middle of the night on March 30, 2003 when Mayor Daley set a number of bulldozers lose carving huge “Xs” into the runway at Meigs. Suddenly the Mighty Meigs was no more. A number of lawsuits were of course filed and the city was fined for its actions, but we all knew that Daley had made good on his pay back threats to the aviation people who’d gotten in his way. Daley left office in 2011.

Now, 10 years later, here I sat in the Tribune forum and asked the aviation question of Mayor Emanuel that all of us really wanted to know … what did he, the new mayor of Chicago have in mind for Northerly Island, a poor excuse for a city park since Daley’d shuttered the airport in 2003? Reopening the place would be pretty easy, I thought. The control tower’s still there, as is the terminal building and even the fire house. Knock down a few trees in the barren Northerly Island park, lay some concrete and repaint the numbers. I held my breath.

“Reopen Meigs?” Emanuel asked. “Nope. We’re finally going to turn it into the park it always should have been,” he said. “It will soon be a place where kids can play.” There was no spite in his voice, no anger. Just pragmatism and the discussion moved on.

I didn’t have a chance to call Steve Whitney that night to tell him what I’d heard, but somehow, a politically connected guy like Steve … I figured he probably knew anyway.

Rob Mark, Publisher

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83 Responses to “Chicago Meigs Field (CGX) is Dead … Really”

  1. Mal Says:

    Rob:

    Thanks for the (sad) update.

    I’d never visited Chicago until last August, while dropping off my son at Elmhurst College. My wife, son, daughter, and I spent a day touring the city–the requisite museums & food stops. Loved the city!

    But I had a poignant few moments when I went looking for what was left of Meigs in our car. I saw the tower, anyway. I informed my family that the city’s handling of Meigs had been disgraceful, and they nodded politely.

    They just didn’t get it. Sounds like few people do, in City Hall, either. Sad.

  2. Jon Says:

    I agree. It really is sad to lose something as special as a small, close to downtown, airport that defined a community and replace it with a park that is hard for anyone to get to save a few cyclists.

    I remember heading a few stories about CGX and how the mayor wanted to close it for security reasons after 9/11. Now this is open airspace and not even class d so there are less regulations on pilots and we are free to fly around downtown as long as we stay clear of the buildings, traffic, the ohare bravo and the midway charlie airspace.

    I also heard about the fact that there were high voltage lines running alongside the runway and the tractor operator is *very* lucky (s)he didn’t hit them as deep grooves were etched into the runway.

    Finally, I’ve heard about how the airplanes that remained parked at CGX overnight while the runway was dug up had to take off from the taxiway so they could be relocated to nearby midway airport. Not sure if they needed special permission to do that.

    All in all… still sad to have lost something so special to Chicago.

  3. Jim Allenfort Says:

    Rob,
    I was flying back from a trip to Florida the morning Daley vandalized Meigs field. As the airliner flew up the lakeshore I was stunned to see the fresh “X’s” carved into the runway. As a starving CFI at the time I had only been able to land at Meigs a few times to pick up and drop off sight-seeing customers and the odd student or two. The onerous landing fees had prevented me for the years prior to becoming a “professional” pilot. But when customers were willing to pay the fees, I would land there with relish and a sense of awe and adventure.

    Daley destroyed an iconic aviation landmark that day. He also shook my faith in the Democratic party and in the rule of law…..
    Jim

  4. Mike B Says:

    Daley sucks! Shame on all people who bought the post 911 security BS. Can you tell I’m still bitter I never had a chance to land there?

  5. Ron S. Says:

    Closing Meigs was wrong. So now what do we do?

    Where can we find common ground? Why not a World Class aviation museum? The location, after all, is on the museum campus area adjacent to the Adler, Shedd and Field museums.

    Chicago is the corporate world HQ for Boeing and United, maybe they could help with some corporate sponsership. Certainly they could assist with aircraft for display.

    If we really got lucky perhaps someday there could be a runway associated with the museum.

  6. Rob Mark Says:

    Common ground Ron? I didn’t get the sense from the mayor that there was any common ground ideas even being floated. I think aviation — especially little airplanes, even biz jets — are not even worth the mayor’s time to think about … at least not right now.

  7. Steve Whitney Says:

    Good piece, Rob; nice job summarizing what was a long, tumultuous and confusing process, and fairly accurately summing up the current situation.

    Mayor Emanuel has–from the start of his campaign–said that he supports keeping the current status of Northerly Island as a park. This, of course, is the easy (if not particularly visionary) course.

    After Daley’s obsession with closing the airport, the topic is “radioactive” locally, automatically polarizing dialogue and shutting down consideration of bolder win-win options.

    The Friends of Meigs Field, after exhausting most of our funds on legal challenges to Daley’s “midnight massacre”, developed and published such a proposal (see http://friendsofmeigs.org/html/plan/index.htm) one that would use a reopened and improved airport to create a combination park/air museum/airport that would be as much fun for families as a nature park and would spin off over $100 million in funding for other local parks.

    A truly visionary approach to the issue would include expanding the lakefront using reclaimed land (all of Meigs was on landfill, as well as most Chicago lakefront parks and beaches) and would result in a better, safer, quieter airport, as big a park as currently envisioned, and not cost property taxpayers a cent.

    Most funding would come from federal aviation funds or operations of the airport once it was operated properly and to maximize revenue. Toronto Billy Bishop Airport (formerly Toronto Island Airport) is a model of this. What once was a money-losing, poorly-run GA airport is now a thriving, money-making commuter hub on Toronto’s lakefront.

    The bad news is that–given the history, the local political dynamics, and the current mayor’s unwillingness to open old wounds or cross the Daley family–this is highly unlikely to happen under the current regime.

    The good news (little as it may be) is that the opportunity will not go away. The lakefront is there; the lake bottom could be as easily filled 20 years from now as today, and the need for aviation capacity in Chicago will only continue to grow.

    Under some new, more visionary adminstration, (or even this one if and when it decides it can exercise some independence from the Daley regime) the possibility of a new downtown airport for Chicago is still there. The probability is extremely low–don’t bet your rent money on it–but some pretty crazy things have happened already.

    For this reason, Friends of Meigs Field continues to maintain a presence, to educate Chicago about the value of aviation–particularly general aviation–and to foster conversation about how best Chicago can be served by it.

    Thanks for all you do for GA.

    Keep up the great work,

    Steve Whitney
    President
    Friends of Meigs Field

    *–Note: The Parks and Planes plan was developed in the wake of the demolition in 2003. Circumstances are somewhat different now, and the emphasis for a future plan would be more on the long-term vision articulated in the plan than the particulars of the plan designed to reopen Meigs shortly after the demolition.

  8. Tom Says:

    I was one of the 14 airplanes stranded at Meigs when Daley carved up the runway. It took three days of negotiating/screaming/pleading with the FAA until they finally authorized us to take off on the taxiway (which Daley wisely left untouched until he got rid of us. He also smartly waited until there were no jets parked before he dispatched the bulldozers.)

    The taxiway was better than most runways which I have experienced! But, the FAA wanted to conduct their surveying process to make certain we did not crash into any downtown buildings by using the taxiway (which was about 50 feet to the west of the destroyed runway.)

    They expedited the survey and approval because a front was rapidly approaching which would have shut down VFR departures for several days. (An IFR departure was totally out of the question.) The alternative would have been dismantling the airplanes and shipping them by barge to Gary.

    Chicago paid for our hotel rooms and food while we were stranded. It was a miserable experience.

    Daley holds a special place in my heart. He lived up to his reputation in this episode.

  9. Dr. Douglas O'Donnell Says:

    I have not flown to or through Chicago since Daley’s cowardly mid night destruction of the field. I refuse to fly a trip with connecting flights through the city.

    I used to attend surgical forums in Chicago but have changed my priority for medical continuing education opportunities.

    I’m not still bitter….honest!

  10. Lardo Says:

    Overflew Meigs once, with my instructor, during a night x-country in ’98 or ’99. Never had the chance to land there. Daley always was, and always willbe, a thug. Just like his daddy. If there was any justice in this country he;d be sitting in prison. But we all know the politically powerful can do whatever they want. And if they’re politically powerful criminals, they can get away with murder.

  11. Steve Whitney Says:

    Note to Tom:

    I would be very interested in being in contact with you and learning more about the experience you when Meigs was demolished.

    If interested, drop me a line: swhitney@friendsofmeigs.org

    Steve Whitney

  12. George Chartress Says:

    I wish I had the courage to take a bulldozer to the governors mansion and do onto Daley what he did onto general aviation!

  13. Ron Says:

    Where was the FAA during all this? Why didn’t they step in and stop this from happening? The FAA, OUR FAA, should have forced the idiot to put the runway back in place, PERIOD..

    WE the people, pay the FAA to “supposedly follow the rules they establish”.. What happened?? Politics? NO, that’s not possible, what would Politics have to do with it??!! Turn it into a park?? 10 years later and it still sits there; must have really been important to make it a “park”..

  14. Richard Katz Says:

    As a 12 year old kid in the mid 1950′s, Meigs was my go to adventure place. I regularly went up into the tower and was allowed to watch the controllers direct traffic. I also carefully walked around parked planes and watched as planes took off and landed. It was there that I first saw and marveled at Beech 18′s with their rumbling radial engines.
    To me, Meigs Field was paradise.

  15. Gene Clifford Says:

    As a former member of Friends Of Meigs Fiels from northern Indiana, I can readily say I’ve done a carrier landing as Meigs was totally surrounded by water.
    When the then Mayor Daley closed Meigs in the middle of the night, I sent an anonymous e-mail stateing, “Where’s Jack Ruby when you really need him”.

  16. Richard Burmeister Says:

    As a child growing up in Chicago I always looked forward to visits to Meigs Field, then as a pilot I enjoyed being able to land there and do my business in the city. I now and have lived in Alaska for over 40 years I was sadden when they closed it but never realized they destroyed the runway. It is a said day.

  17. Doug Says:

    The thug,Daley, should have gone to jail. I have not attended anything in Chicago since (my personal, though ineffective boycott). Chicago has provided nothing of value to the USA since, including our current President. I continue to persuade groups to avoid Chicago.

  18. Ben Says:

    It’s amazing that Daley was able to get away with this.

    I live in the western suburbs of Chicago and it takes me hours to get into the city. There is really no good way to get there. Meigs would have been the perfect place to fly into to get downtown…

    …and now it’s an unused park. Daley was (IMO) a bad human being all around, but this ugly little incident is a scar on the city.

  19. JC Perkins Says:

    This is a good lesson to remember when people speak of their 2nd amendment constitutional right to protect themselves from government tyranny. If government thugs can take away an airport in the middle of the night, they can take your possessions, your house, your family or you!

  20. John L. Wagner Says:

    Many Fond Memories of Meigs: I used to fly a number of business people and charters into Meigs out of LAN (MI). I always enjoyed lunches with my friend and tower chief, Danny Commerford while waiting. I would take my daughter, who was blind in one eye with very limited vision in another, to an eye doctor in downtown Chicago. Flying a Cessna 310 landing to the south with brisk westerly winds was always a challenge testing one’s cross-wind skills. I once demonstrated a Lake Amphibian in lea of Meigs, out of breaking waves on Lake Michigan, to discover an open nose wheel door greatly diminishing the takeoff, with breaking whitecaps at the end—-a somewhat gut-wrenching experience! We did make it out after skimming the tops of several waves at the end. Richard Daley was Brain Dead!

  21. Holly Says:

    I was a pilot in Chicago in the early 1990s, did all my training at DPA and Midway. I got to land at Meigs twice, breathtaking, but of course I took it for granted at the time, did not visit enough due to the high landing fee.
    I will always miss Meigs, and always associate its destruction as my wake-up call that the rule of law will always be threatened by thugs. Daley broke a direct order from Congress, didn’t he? And he did not go to jail.

  22. MikeFinkle Says:

    I only had the pleasure of landing at Meigs once… with an instrument student at the end of a business trip for him and instruction/fun for me from Brackett Field (KPOC) in La Verne, California in his C182. It is still difficult to believe that the incredible audacity of Daley’s actions did not result in his personal criminal prosecution. That he did “get away with it” has always struck me as a great failure of our justice system and the federal government oversight of public use airports receiving federal funds.

  23. Doug McDowall Says:

    I got my PPL at DuPage in the early 70′s and although I no longer live in Illinois have held my own personal boycott of any conventions or tradeshows in the Windy City ever since Daley’s midnight raid and vandalism on Miegs Field, and even try to avoid any airline flights through O’Hare if possible. From previous comments here it feels good to know others have done the same in protest.

  24. Andy Thompson Says:

    I didn’t see it mentioned, but for thousands of future pilots who got their inspiration from Microsoft Flight Simulator, Meigs was the default starting point ~ idling and anticipating a northerly departure. I’m one of them.

  25. Matt Says:

    If Obama and these stinking democrats had their way all GA would be shut down!

  26. Bob S Says:

    I used to fly into Meigs regularly to take the kids to the museums. There was no reason to close Meigs other than malicious pathological jealous hatred of people who can “afford” aviation. We see the same in the Chicago graduate in the White House who is bashing and destroying our aviation industry, even if it hurts the US and our jobs and industrial might and superiority.

    Since then I have never again gone into Chicago for ANYTHING ever, unless under extreme duress and not having any other option (only once). I will continue to boycott Chicago as long as this pathological anti-aviation atmosphere pervades the city and country.

  27. Dan Boster Says:

    I have refused to voluntarily spend ANY money in Chicago or Illinois since Meggs was destroyed. When I travel to EAA Airventure, nearly every year, I purposely gas up before crossing the boarder so as to avoid buying anything in the state and especially the City of Chicago.

    Probably an insignificant protest but personally satisfying.

    I do stop to empty trash and go to the bathroom tho ;-)

  28. Larry Munch Says:

    As a freshly minted instrument pilot from Indianapolis and a member of the local MedFlight organization, I had the privilege of flying into Meigs for a medical mission just weeks before the X’s were made and viewed via a webcam to my horror. I now fly regularly into Midway (which has become one of the most accommodating towers for mixing all sorts of traffic quite successfully), but will always remember the unbelievable view of this most beautiful skyline and rueing the day that the Mayor reneged on his “agreement” and indeed passed the cost of those fines back to the taxpayers. Oh, Chicago politics!

  29. Palmer Woodrow Says:

    “We’re finally going to turn it into the park it always should have been”

    More nonsensical BS. This simply regurgitates Daley’s lie. The entire lakefront is already a park “where kids can play.”

    Emanuel is supposed to be able to think for himself, not stoop to this embarrassing “do it for the children” excuse to rip off the people of Chicago and indeed the nation.

  30. Lowell Henning Says:

    Got to go into Meigs once when coming back from safecon in battle creek mich back in 97. Could still see the x’s on the concrete from the paint. Had to get some fuel for the slip just to prove I was there.

  31. Dennis McNamara Says:

    I was fortunate to have participated in the Chicago Air Show from 2000 to 2004 flying AH-64′s (8-229 Attack Battalion out of Fort Knox). We got to work out of Meggs and meet the people who worked there. What a great airfield and crew. When it closed it took all the fun and the real feel of Chicago out of the airshow. I view it as a huge loss to the City and the aviation community.

  32. Rod B. Says:

    I was lucky in the late 80′s to have been able to hitch a ride “fly” into Meigs field for a conference at the McCormick Center. The short flight from northern Wisconsin was much better than a 5 hr drive.

    I was sick and appalled when Daley pulled his stunt. I have avoided any conferences or travel to chicago since and just know I have had a distaste for the city for a long time. Reading the other comments, I now remember why!

    I now have own little aircraft I can barely afford and will continue my boycott. Even though I had forgotten why!

  33. Janet Says:

    I flew charter in and out of Meigs from 1980 to 1985. I am now a retired ATP but have many fond memories flying there, especially the winter crosswinds….

  34. Berl Grant Says:

    My first rememberance of Meigs was in the 40s when as a young lad with my Dad and Uncle standing along a wall on Lake Shore Drive watching a bevy of small planes (Cubs I believe)do touch and gos on the landing strip. Later on a College interview trip (1961) I landed there on a helicopter taxi on a conecting trip from Midway to OHare. The helicopter service picked up passengers there.

    Later in my own plane I landed there many times, to visit the museums with the family, to attend trade shows at McCormic Place and to attend a football game at Soldiers Field. I flew family, friends and business aquaintenaces in an out of there several times. It was a wonderful gateway to the City.

    Ironicly when Chicago was trying to get Boeing to move to the city, I understand they landed the visiting Excutives at Meigs.

    There has been no benefit from the destruction of Meigs. Daley had no reason to destroy Meigs except to show his power. It is now almost ten years later and the park that was so urgently needed by Daley is still nonexistent. Chicago spent $millons to get rid of Meigs Field and all they acomplished was to prove that “power corrupts and absolute power corupts absolutly.”

    I too now avoid Chicago. The festering arm pit of corrupt politics.

  35. Nicholas Marzullo Says:

    I find it very disturbing that some are boycotting the city of Chicago because of a decision one man made 10 years ago. The airport is gone but that doesn’t mean we should be boycotting the city by telling others to avoid it and/or not spend any money in it or the state for that matter. That is just helping to hurt local small businesses which is acting just as bad as the big Mr. D. The airport is gone…let’s grow up and move on, keeping it in out hearts, memories and hopes that it will one day be again. And if there is ever a single glimpse of hope that the airport could be reconstructed once again, then lets embrace it and go full force to help make it become a reality. Until that day lets enjoy the city as it now stands because one day both you and I will also be gone and will be wishing that we could see that beautiful skyline with our living eyes just one more time.

  36. Robert Mark Says:

    To answer the earlier question about why the FAA took no stand on this.

    What I understand — and Steve Whitney please feel free to jump in here — but I was told that the City of Chicago repaid FAA the amount of the outstanding grant money the Agency had put into the airport.

    Daley then felt Meigs had once again become his airport and the bulldozers did the deed. If I recall, I think the FAA eventually fined the City of Chicago about $30,000 for failing to issue a NOTAM closing the runway.

    The city paid the fine and FAA Administrator Jane Garvey essentially shrugged her shoulders.

    And for what it is worth, George Bush was in the White House at the time.

  37. Bob S Says:

    Nicholas, I am slow to anger. The AOPA recently sent around a newsletter and a quote at the bottom read “beware the fury of a patient man” – I forget the author of that quote.

    I have taken every penny of my professional and personal budget away from Chicago. I do not attend conferences, meetings, go to shows, museums, or have anything to do with the city.

    25 years ago I was wrongfully given a traffic ticket in Kalkaska, Michigan I have never gone back or spent a penny there ever since.

    I think everything we as pilots and successful professionals can do to express our ongoing outrage at dishonest corruption as an established way of life, outrageous childish behavior like this, greed, stupidity, jealousy, pettiness – i cannot be enough ever.

    I just recently encountered a situation regarding criminal activity in which a local police officer refused to take a report, saying “this goes on all the time here”.

    Are we unwilling to take a stand? Have principles? Stick to them?

    It is evident that these people also do not care about Wichita Kansas or American jobs or the role of aviation in what has made this country great (sic transit gloriam). Petty childishness and “if I can’t have a toy I will break yours” rules the day.

    No, I won’t forgive or forget. Not for decades. Do I care about the stupid skyline of Chicago? Lest you think too much of its glory, read “Ozymandias” again.

  38. KKrumm Says:

    I knew somebody would find a way to blame Bush. :-)

  39. Rich F. Says:

    I also have avoided the city of Chicago since this closure and always inform the promoters of seminars and trade shows of my lack of desire to ever attend anything held there, or for that matter in the State of Illinois.

    The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago probably don’t care, but there is a price to pay for everything….let them wallow in their corruption.

  40. Doug Says:

    Response to Nicholas Marzullo:
    When someone commits a crime and show no remorse, I see no reason to ‘move on’. The people of Chicago continue to support the corrupt political machine that allows the thug Daley to destroy and have done nothing to indicate that they want honest representation.

    I support ‘second chances’ when the criminal and his supporters demonstrate an honest desire to correct their crimes. Until then, there is no statute of limitations.

    My opinion and boycott of Chicago remain unchanged.

  41. H.T. Says:

    Meigs Field has to come back. I too am angry about what R. Daley did. Meigs Field was one of the most icons in Chicago. What he did was illegal, but we all know about the corrupted politicians and their crazy politics in Chicago and in Illinois in general.

  42. Robert Mark Says:

    Another comment is the impracticability of using Northerly Island as a recreational park for kids. The place is a peninsula with one way in and one way out. it is not easy to reach even by car. Maybe if they bus the kids in, but again the place as a park is simply beyond me.

    Take a look for yourself (hopefully my map link works).

    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=map+of+northerly+island&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x880e2b70653a022b:0xe385c5e9925ec24a,Northerly+Island&gl=us&ei=LnsBUY2pFKXo2QXViYHoBQ&ved=0CDQQ8gEwAA

  43. Bob S Says:

    BTW, the place is a toxic garbage dump. Landfill with toxic waste. The only legal safe use would be to pave it over with a runway……

  44. Robert Mark Says:

    KKrumn — I wasn’t trying to blame George Bush for this. I simply mentioned him because there was a Republican in the White House and I would have thought he’d be happy to take a stand against a Democrat in a situation like this.

    Guess Daley trumped everyone.

  45. Bob S Says:

    Nicholas, I see many people here are still boycotting Chicago. I applaud that. I also do not understand your comment about the “actions of a single man 10 years ago”. Hitler was a single man who caused 13 million people to be killed. Stalin was a single man who cause 40 million people to be killed. (There are more examples in history.) We do not forget single men. They go into the history books for decades (or forever?) as examples of wrongdoing. Do you condone these actions of “single men over 10 years ago”? I concur with the other comment on this site that there is ongoing wrongdoing without remorse. The current mayor continues the thought process “I enjoy breaking what is yours, it gives me pleasure regardless of whether is has any meaning or purpose”.

  46. Steve Whitney Says:

    Rob,

    You are basically correct about the reason the FAA “took no stand” on the Midnight Massacre.

    The details are complex and convoluted, however, probably more so than is warranted here. A short primer–leaving out much of the detail–follows: (Warning, not for the faint of heart or people subject to high blood pressure)

    The City had Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants from the FAA and the State of Illinois, most recently in 1989 signed by Daley himself, pledging to keep the airport for 20 years (i.e. ’til 2009). Usually this is iron-clad enough for the FAA to prevent a closure under most any circumstances.

    The hitch was that the land–owned by the Chicago Park District–was under a 50-year lease to the City (technically a separate governmental body) that expired in 1996. Because of this, there was a clause recognizing the expiration. In it, the City pledged to seek a lease extension or purchase of the property from the Park District.

    Given that the Park District commissioners are appointed by the Mayor (the only non-elected board in the state, by the way), the FAA could have been pretty confident that good title would obtainable for the City.

    The agreement did, however, acknowledge that–if the City was unable to get good title–it could get out of the agreement early by repaying the unamortized portion of the grants to the FAA or making an “equivalent investment” in the aviation system.

    Long story short, when 1996 rolled around Daley says “well that big, mean Park District [his hand-picked commissioners] just won’t extend our lease.” The FAA decides not to protest (more political shenanigans here…no room to explain.)

    Tidbit not for the easily enraged:
    The City used some of the funds to buy snow removal equipment for Meigs. Their “equivalent investment” in the aviation system to repay the grant money? Drive the snowplows over to Midway airport.

    Fortunately, the State of Illinois had contributed a little to the same grants, and then-Governor Jim Edgar decided to fight the closure. Lawsuits by the state and by AOPA and others caused a temporary stay of demolition, and during the delay the state Legislature passed legislation to take over the airport as state property. (Complete victory from the jaws of complete defeat it appeared.)

    Shortly thereafter, Gov. Edgar struck a bargain with Daley: reopen the airport ASAP, for 5 years under City control and he’d help pass legislation to keep it in City hands and not defend the state’s grants beyond then. The airport reopened 2/10/97, with a closure date of 2/10/02 scheduled.

    At that point, there were neither federal nor state AIP grants in effect, and the airport was without protection against the scheduled closure in 2002.

    In 2001, the Friends of Meigs, AOPA, and others lobbied then-Gov. Ryan to include keeping Meigs open in the plan to expand airport capacity in Chicago (principally O’Hare.)

    Ryan and Daley reached an agreement on 12/5/2001 to keep Meigs open for 25 years (later reduced to 24 years by a typo in draft legislation.) This whole process is worth another book by itself.

    Planned legislation to formalize this agreement in Congress became stalled (more City shenanigans), but airport supporters never suspected that Daley would not be as good as his word.

    The details of March 30-31, 2003 are fairly well known, I won’t rehash them here.

    But the basic situation was that–with the AIP grants disposed of–there was no legal leverage to prevent a closure. The law that Daley broke was the failure to provide adequate notice (30 days) of an airport closure, a fineable offense of a maximum of $1,000 per day (a limit later increased tenfold by Congress in the wake of the Meigs debacle.)

    The City ultimately spent over $600,000 defending against this $30,000 fine and ended up paying it anyway, along with reimbursing the FAA for $1 million in emergency repair funds that were mis-directed from O’Hare to pay for the Meigs overnight demolition.

    I hope this sheds a little light on both the legal maneuvering that kept Daley from going to jail or otherwise being penalized, as well as the depth of the political machinations and perfidy arrayed against Meigs supporters.

    Daley was obsessed with this; first to be able to turn Meigs into a park, by the end simply with winning.

    Maybe this helps explain how the whole thing unfolded and why the FAA didn’t take a stronger stand at the end. (They did make statements against the demolition after the fact, but too little, too late. The time to have stood up was in 1996, and the political pressures at the time affected them.)

    Steve Whitney
    Friends of Meigs Field

  47. Rick Binkley Says:

    Response to Nicholas Marzullo:

    Nicholas, in regards to your comment about the “actions of a single man 10 years ago”.

    The destruction of Meigs Field may have been ordered by Mayor Daley but it was condoned by the entire political machine in Chicage and the city population that continued to elect him as leader of that extremely corrupt organization. All of Chicago shares in the blame for the destruction of Meigs by supporting Daley.

    Like many others, I have taken every penny of my professional and personal budget away from Chicago. I do not attend conferences, meetings, go to shows, museums, or have anything to do with the city. Chicago was previously a regular destination for my family vacations. That ended with the Meigs destruction. I also avoid the city of Chicago since this closure for any business or even airline connecting flights.

    The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago probably don’t care, but it is my income to spend as I see fit and I choose to take my family to other destinations. The money we spent at museums, attractions, and the shopping on Michigan Avenue is insignificant in the whole scheme of Chicago. I can only hope many other pilots and aviation enthusiasts share the mind set.

    The people of Chicago continue to support the corrupt political machine that allowed the destruction of Meigs Field and have done nothing to indicate they want different representation.

  48. Nicholas Marzullo Says:

    I still find it amusing that so many would put so much negative energy and thought into a city made up of regular people like you and me just because of the actions of a few politicians. I keep hearing corruption this and illegal that. Wake up guys! Corruption is all around us and is here to stay whether you like it or not. It’s in every country, state, county and city around the world. It’s at the company you work for, your neighbors house and I will bet my last dollar that somewhere along your blood line someone has been involved in some form of corrupt illegal activity. Will you move because of it? get a new job because of it? Disown your family? I didn’t thing so.

    So it looks like you will not be spending your money anywhere in this world because everywhere is corrupt. You can send it my way if you want. It also looks like you will be needing a place to live…you may want to invest in civilian moon travel. But then again I’m sure it will already be run by corrupt people as well by the time you can actually live there.

    All I’m saying is that if you’re so bitter still then man the heck up and deal with it or do something about it that will ACTUALLY help the situation. The city itself and everyday people that live and work there (minus you know who) had nothing to do with the closing of Meigs. Boycotting an entire city because of this helps NOTHING.

  49. Sandra Says:

    Response to Nicholas Marzullo:

    ‘Tis better to let the world think you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and completely remove all doubt. It is your naive, myopic perspective and vague assumptions which are truly amusing. Not every person [nor family] are corrupt, and not every community is corrupt, as you see it. There are societal standards which are still upheld across this country. Perhaps it is only the negative news on which you focus.

    I am a pilot who lives [and works] in a metropolitan area which sees a very high amount of tourist traffic. The income generated from those tourists, as well as those who travel for business, means that our local taxes remain low. My community understands that a small airport is an economic engine, and vital to our collective livelihood.

    The above-listed, well-founded laments are not without merit.

    The issue is much deeper than your personal perspective. While you may disagree, the income of visitors [for business and for pleasure], who choose to avoid Chicago, does indeed make a significant difference in the coffers of the city, and those who are employed within. Word-of-mouth still carries weight, and it was the citizens of Chicago who should have joined with Friends of Meigs, stood up to the corruption, and demand that the economic engine known as Meigs Field, which generated thousands of ancillary jobs, NOT be destroyed. The loss of this income, to the City of Chicago, meant that the citizens who do live there would see a tax increase, to make up for that which was lost in taxes due to landing fees, fuel sales, hotel rooms, event halls for conventions, catering and restaurants, rental cars, entertainment, souvenirs, clothing sales, and personal services [such as barber shops, medical facilities, etc.). Jobs have completely vanished for those who once worked as air traffic controllers, the local residents who drove the trucks and refueled, towed, and maintained the aircraft, aircraft mechanics, detailers, delivery personnel, and administrative positions. When people in the community loose their jobs, they do not have the money with which to contribute to their local businesses, and the economy begins to decline. With the lack of income, the city must increase taxes to cover what they are losing from the visitors, and so it falls to the shoulders of those who live and work in Crook County.

    One must also understand that Meigs Field was also known as an over-flow airport. Having Meigs Field open meant safer airspace, especially since the air traffic controllers did not have to fit the general aviation or corporate aircraft into the tight corridors with the approaching and departing heavier commercial aircraft, which were already crammed into a tight arrival and departure schedule.

    Further, Meigs Field served as an inspiration to young visitors [no matter their social or economic background], who were afforded easier access to aviation. In an era where we see our pilot community dwindling, we desperately need people inspired to follow careers in aviation. Without that access, we have lost a vital opportunity to inspire a lot of kids … especially since Meigs Field was right next door to the Adler Planetarium! Many of our astronauts are pilots (think of Chicago native John Grunsfeld, Ph.D. as a perfect example).

    There are many perspectives from which to see this, but it has been a loss not only to those who regularly or even infrequently had flown into CGX, but also to the members of the surrounding community as a whole. The residents, who are now paying increased taxes, need to recognize the positive economic and educational impact of the presence and operation of Meigs Field, and they need to demand that the jobs and income be re-established, in spite of the former mayor’s childish temper tantrum.

  50. Nicholas Marzullo Says:

    Response to Sandra

    I would like to quote your own words right back to you. “Tis better to let the world think you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and completely remove all doubt”. Sandra unfortunately your tax increase theory for the city due to Meigs closing never actually made it into reality. From 2002 when Meigs closed, Chicago did not raise it’s own city taxes until 2005 in which it was only increased by .25%. This is nothing compared to the increase of 2008 in which it rose another 1.25%. Maybe I missed it but I don’t recall any airports closing before that whopper of an increase. But yeah I can see your point of that happening in a city of maybe only a 100,000. Unfortunately we are talking a city of millions in which employs people from every other city in the Chicagoland area plus people from MI, WI and IN. Fortunately Chicago has a few more airports in it’s vicinity to handle overflow and jobs lost from Meigs opened up at airports that saw the increased traffic such as Midway, Palwaukee (now Chicago Executive), Gary and other smaller surrounding airports. On top of it, Meigs had already lost over half of it’s traffic from the early 1980′s when they raised landing fees in the early 90′s.

    I can agree with you that Meigs was an inspiration to many visitors young as…well as old and it’s a shame that it is gone.

    My point from the very beginning was that it’s childish to boycott a city because of what happened with a once great airport that was not only home to Microsoft Flight Simulator but home to so many hearts. I said it before and I will say it again. Boycotting the city is not going to help anything. If anything at all on any kind of measurable scale it hurts matters worse. The mayor may have had his childish temper tantrum back then but boycotting a city because of it is just like a child hiding away and pouting in a corner. Pouting gets you nowhere, confronting a situation with action does.

  51. Bob S Says:

    Nicholas, you are right. You represent the majority – who believe that corruption is to be condoned, accepted, allowed as “standard operating procedure”. It is now the American way, espoused by the Chicago government and the federal government trained in Chicago – in fact now on both sides of the aisle.

    I am sorry but I admit to being old fashioned, holding to the previous American values we used to have, including honesty, integrity, dignity, ethics, commitment to excellence and the principles of this country. Am I pouting? I won’t go to Chicago. I also moved away from every big city I have lived in. I have virtually dropped out of my careers, will no longer participate in our farcical system that is destroying our country. I have voted with my feet to stick to my principles. I am now watching and looking forward to the (soon) coming day when we become a meaningless, indebted, impoverished third world country. We will get what we deserve, what we voted for. We are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave. We are the imprisoned and chickens seeking entitlement.

    But I have stuck by my principles. I have a clean conscience. You are part of the majority that is ruling. But I have “shrugged” and walked away. Let the house of cards collapse. Do you know how astounded people are today to see someone actually stick to principles? What does that say?

  52. Dr. Max Denton Says:

    I was able to fly into Meigs only once. I really enjoyed it. It was destroyed by Daley’s well known Democratic bunch of fools. They will destroy the entire state of Illinois which is the worst state financially. 96 Billion to the negative. As the state and municipalities are unable to meet their obligations, the economy of Illinois and Chicago will be crushed by taxation that is already opressive. It will get much worse. If given the option, the rest of the state should bulldoze Chicago into Lake Michigan.
    I feel so sorry for the loss of Meigs for all the good people in Chicago, the state of Illinois and the aviation community.
    Dr. Max Denton
    Marion, Ohio

  53. Dave Montgomery Says:

    It seems like the source of the conflict over Meigs is land-use. Considerv air access to downtown Chicago via water. A floatplane base could provide air access without the land-use issue. The land footprint would be small. The infrastructure cost is small, relative to a land-based airport. The noise could be restricted to out over the water, wih low or no impact to people on land. It seems like a floatplane airline in Chicago could attract passengers to/from Harbor Country, and along the east and north coasts in Michigan, and Milwaukee/ Sheboygan/Green Bay/Door County in Wiscinsin.

    Anybody interested in exploring this with me ?

  54. Robert Mark Says:

    A floatplane base? That is an interesting idea Dave. Of course I’d like a boater from our area to chime in first. Those Lake Michigan waters can become pretty violent at times.

    Wouldn’t you need to survey the nearby water to be sure it was usable enough to make the venture worthwhile?

    But again, I must admit I haven’t heard anyone raise this idea … ever.

  55. Dave Montgomery Says:

    Thanks Rob.

    I belive that having landing and takeoff operations behind the breakwaters off Navy Pier and Burnham Harbor make it viable. Those breakwaters make the areas right off downtown usable by small watercraft. A floatplane, operating on water is the equivalent of a small watercraft.

    For commercial operations, you’d want to be using something like a DeHavilland Beaver or Otter, or a Cessna Caravan. Those can handle rougher seas than a SuperCub on floats.

    There are days when small craft warnings are posted for the lake front when boating is risky. We know there are days when wind and weather make flight operations for any flying impossible here. And I don’t discount that as a consideration.

    I’ve talked to a variety of regulators about operating float planes on Chicago’s lakefront, including FAA, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Division of Aeronautics, Chicago Police department, and the Harbor master at the new 31st Street Harbor. Interestingly, no one has said “No”.

    The FAA says as long as we obey the FARs when we are in the air, they don’t care.

    I contacted the Chicago Police department and asked:”…Are there any ordinances governing or prohibiting these operations ? Are the protocols to follow, e.g. contacting CPD on an air or marine radio channel or frequency ? Any one to call before hand ? Any limits to the number of operations ?” They said I needed to contact the Coast Guard.

    The Coast Guard said, as long as we obey the right of way rules for watercraft on the water, they don’t care.

    The Illinois Division of Aeronatics said they’d be willing to help layout the floatplane operations areas and do the required studies to get certified as an airport.

    And the Harbor Master at the 31st Street Harbor said as long as we landed outside the harbor and taxied in as a boat would, he saw no problem with this.

    Certainly, there is much more to explore before a floatplane base can be established. I don’t minimze the difficulty. But it is an alternative that addresses a need for convenient air access to downtown Chicago, and mitigates the key reasons given for destroying and prohibiting a land based airport.

    I am intereetd in hearing other points of view, and if there is interest in helping push this idea ahead.

  56. Nicholas Marzullo Says:

    Dave I think that’s an excellent idea! Do you think the existing breakwaters would work when the waters are congested with watercraft in the summer or would a new wall need to be built in a separate area? Also during winter with freezing conditions would it be beneficial to partition off an area for aircraft to be able to land on the frozen lake with skis, would a tugboat need to keep ice broken up and cleared 24/7 or would it be temporarily or seasonally shut down?

  57. Dave Montgomery Says:

    I think there is plenty of room behind existing breakwalls for seaplanes to co-operate with other water craft. There is a video on YouTube documenting this interaction on Lake Union in Seattle, here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eArPW41VqRk

    Lake Union is much smaller, and has a high density of boats, swimmers, seaplanes, and swimmers.

    Generally, a designated seaplane operations area is charted and communicated to boaters. Persoanlly, I think floatplane operators should have a marine band radio to announce intentions to boaters in the area before landing and take-off.

    I don’t foresee the need for an additional breakwall.

    I expect floatplane operations to coincide with the boating season in Chicago, roughly mid-March – mid-November. The main reason is the potential for airframe icing due to prop spray and lake water freezing on the floats during takeoff and landing runs. Like flying through visible moisture when the air temperature is close to zero, even though the water is warm enough not to freeze in the lake, hitting an airframe whose teperature is below freezing will cause the water to freeze on the airframe, with consequent weight and potetial loss of control.

    If winters remained mild, with the lake not freezing and air temeratures in the 40s, I suppose it could still operate.

    Ice out in the harbor tends to be pretty rough. I don’t foresee ice landings as viable.

    In short, I think it is a seasonal operation, coinciding with the boating season. This probably makes sense from a passenger use point of view as well. I expect there would be more demand for air travel during Spring, Summer and Fall, when there is heavy auto traffic to potential destinations along the Michigan and Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan. There is much less traffic along those auto routes in Winter.

    I forgot to mention above that the Army Corps of Engineers would only want to be involved if modifications to the shoreline to accomodate seaplanes, are planned. Their concern is about obstructions to commercial shipping traffic. The Corps told me they would want to have a meeting with the City of CHicago, and the base operators to discuss and agree to any such plans.

  58. Jim Allenfort Says:

    Dave,
    Didn’t we fly together at Windy City Flyers when I was a CFI there back in 2002 or so??
    If so, hope you’re doing well.
    The seaplane base is a fabulous, creative idea.

    Jim Allenfort

  59. Dave Montgomery Says:

    Thank you Jim !
    Yes we did fly together back then. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience !
    I hope all is well with you !

  60. Gene Clifford Says:

    The seaplane base is a great idea. But if it’s not the idea of the City Administration along with the Park Department it won’t fly (pardon the pun).

  61. Dave Montgomery Says:

    Gene:

    And you know this how ?
    What facts support this statement ?

  62. Nicholas Marzullo Says:

    Dave I’m interested in exploring this with you. Where are you located?

  63. Dave Montgomery Says:

    Nicholas:

    I live in Oak Park, IL and work in the Loop at LaSalle and Madison.
    You ?

  64. Nicholas Marzullo Says:

    I live in Schaumburg and work mainly out of O’Hare. It seems like you have been thinking about this for a while. What’s the best way to get in contact with you?

  65. Dave Montgomery Says:

    Pilotmon1@gmail.com
    @pilotmon on twitter

  66. Dave Montgomery Says:

    Nick and I are going to meet at Pilot Pete’s at 9:30 AM, Saturday Feb 2.
    Please join us if you are interested in exploring establishing a seaplane base in Chicago.

    Send a note to pilotmon1@gmail.com to let me know if you are interested.

  67. Rob Mark Says:

    Since we all chatted, I’m attaching the link here to our new meeting spot … Pine Grove on Mannheim Rd. near ORD.

    https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&cid=13124350979451993328&q=Pine+Grove+Restaurant&iwloc=A&gl=US&hl=en

  68. Scott Sedam Says:

    I will forever depise Daley, but blaming the entire citizenry of Chicago for this is over-the-top. It is in so many ways a great city, and one can argue that all things considered, the best and most livable of the 10 largest cities in America. I have been gone 23 years, but I miss it greatly. If you never lived there, you do not know how the system works, and why expecting an overthrow by the citizenry is well, silly. But something that was going around back then thea has not come up here, is to me, the only plausbile explanation of why Daley risked so much and took the in-the-dark measures. The “skinny” was that he and others were very unhappy about the so-called Riverboat Casinos in Hammond, Joliet, etc, skimming millions from the citizens of Chicago. If anyone was doing some skimming, then by God it should be done by Daley, correct? What was theirs was rightfully his. look at an overhead shot of Meigs.

    Now I ask you, what would go just perfectly into Burnham Harbor? Not one but possible TWO competing Riverboat Casinos … withlots and lots pf paid parking right there where Meigs was. That was what Daley really wanted, and he knew he could never get approval for Casinos in the City, which as I recall, he tried.

    Crazy? Well, I heard it from some pretty good sources back then and it makes perfect sense. What happened to the plan? I dunno … but those guys in Hammond and Joliet can be pretty nasty. Maybe Dick woke up next to a horses head or something.

  69. Scott Sedam Says:

    Oh … here is the overhead shot. Perfect?
    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=adler+planetarium

  70. Bob Mittelstadt Says:

    I live in San Francisco now, but I grew up in and near Chicago. Meigs Field was an amazing amenity. And an icon of Chicago, almost more important than its tall buildings.
    Somehow I can’t believe that your new mayor is so oblivious to the facts: an airport near the Loop is a neccessity (a seaplane port is way too specialized), and another park is totally redundant and unneccessary.
    How about forming an organization, collecting some money to hire lobbyists, and then start putting pressure on all those who could make a full restoration happen? Rahm is only in his first term…

  71. Bob Mittelstadt Says:

    (‘scuse me, I didn’t say anything about “awaiting moderation”– that got tacked on)

  72. Scott Sedam Says:

    … and what a way for Ram to stand up and show clearly that HE is the man now, fully in charge. That would get huge nationwide coverage.

  73. Jim Allenfort Says:

    I remember at the time that we all believed Daley had destroyed the airport to get casino gambling at the Meigs site, and used “security” concerns as his pretext. I always wondered why they never got the gaming in there and assumed I’d misjudged him, or possibly Daley had misjudged opposition to casinos at Northerly Island……

  74. Tom Says:

    I think the term “thug” is probably even a little conservative.

    I like to think of myself as fairly reasonable and intelligent, but for years now, in protest of Daly’s blatant disregard for policy and procedure, I have engaged in my own personal boycott of all things Chicago.

    This is really the first time since Daly took it upon himself to destroy Meigs that I learned that others, who from their comments also appear to be fairly reasonable and intelligent, have also chosen to boycott the city.

    Will it do any good? No.

    Does it make me feel better about what Daly did to Meigs? Definitely!

  75. Doug Says:

    To Tom:
    I first saw this article January 23. I responded with my feelings about the ‘thug’ and my personal boycott. As you, I was suprised and encouraged by the similar responses that followed. I followed up with another comment to Nicholas on 1/24 and again found myself among others with similar feelings. What I have read have been intelligent, rational responses. We are not delusional crackpots. I am pleased to find myself in the company of individuals such as yourself.

  76. Bob Mittelstadt Says:

    To Steve Whitney:
    I know I’m coming in rather late in this discussion, but I’m wondering just how much residual Daley poison remains, now that the new mayor has settled in. Do you know any of the players in his administration who might lend an ear to the visionary proposal you outlined in your January 23 post? Rather than directly opposing Rahm’s expressed intention to execute the plan for a city park, the idea of a park with an improved airfield amenity and air museum would only build on his position (You and Friends of Meigs Field have probably already been there).

  77. Dave Montgomery Says:

    If you look at the front page of the business section in today’s Tribune, you’ll see an article ”
    Group to float ‘aggressive’ Chicagotourism ideas”

    It’s behind a pay wall on line.

    Deep into it is a paragraph that states one idea..

    “A floatplane port on Northerly Island where tourists could take rides up and down the lakefront”

    Someone else is thinking along the same lines we are…

  78. Windtee Says:

    We all know rhetoric, deception, and maneuvering are games a childish/immature/underdeveloped-politician played. It’s common knowledge. Meigs and the city of Chicago was mortally wounded as a result.

    Very soon our day will come, and it will, when Meigs Field reopens. You’ll see, we all will see… and so will Daley!

    Be positive, cheer up! We are Cleared to Land!

  79. Henry Says:

    Wow. Most of these pilot comments are an embarassment to anyone outside of the dyed-in-the-wool aviation community. Grow up.
    Did you ever notice that virtually no one OUTSIDE of pilots were that fond of Meigs?
    Sure, WE miss it, but don’t you think it’s a bit selfish (yes, you) to not look at what and why?
    First, Chicago basically owned the land, and had every right to do with it what they want. They paid back what they owed the FAA, fully legally. Not my choice, but it’s not my city. And did they put in a political high-rise? Nope. They put in a very popular public park. VERY popular. Not with any of myopic readers on this forum obviously, and I don’t expect any intelligent response – just more knee-jerk “But *I* loved Meigs!” whining. And I loved it to.
    Facts?
    Norhterly Island is now a 4.5 star attraction on Trip Adviser.com for Chicago attractions, and in the top 25% of all Chicago attractions.
    For all your bemoaning about how ‘(other) people like to come and watch the 1 or 2 planes a day on average’ take off or land, no airport every became a top attraction to a city.
    For all the Machiavelean maneuvers that Daly did to remove Meigs (and he did, no doubt), the result is a park that literallly hundreds of thousands of people are just overjoyed with.
    Get a grip on reality.
    Not EVERYONE loves airports.
    Beaches, bike trails, parks, concerts-on-the-lake, and serenity are very valued by the rest of the world (99.9999%) who don’t hold an FAA license.

  80. flyingtiger Says:

    I still remember as a child riding my bike down the lake front. Meigs field was my turn around point. I also remember the open house events as an adult.
    I have a few questions:
    1) Do the airlines still collect the taxes for Miegs field?
    2) Has anyone thought of buying the land? It seems Chicago is selling everything else.

  81. Henry Says:

    Dear FlyingTiger,
    per my post, that land is worth 10′s or 100′s of millions. It is like a mini Grant Park in the summer, with concerts, beaches, etc.

    I love flying, but at some point you have to admit that literally 100s of thousands of people aew now enjoing Northerly Island. That’s why it is a 4.5 on Trip Advisor and in the top 25% of Chicago attractions.

    It is never leaving the public’s hands …..

    -Henry

  82. Ron S. Says:

    I just came across this poll currently being taken about changes to “Northerly Island.”

    Too bad it doesn’t offer an aviation museum or runway option.

    http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2013/04/22/which-northerly-island-alterations-do-you-most-want-to-see.php

  83. Bob S Says:

    A lot of this political logic comes along the same lines as the following:

    “The solution to the Boston Marathon bombings and terror bombings is to ban handguns and private airplanes.”

    Nope, don’t expect anything ever for Meigs. Don’t expect logic from politicians.

    Remember that the actual job description for a politician is “get [re] elected”. Why do we expect them to be good at ANYTHING ELSE?

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