Friends of Meigs Field Dedicated
to the restoration, preservation & improvement of Chicago's downtown airport
3/31/2013: Chicago Tribune, by Jon Hilkevitch,
Meigs Field remembered as a 'negative aspect of Daley regime'
One of the last planes
to leave Meigs Field takes off in 2003.
Ten years ago Mayor
Richard M. Daley issued the now infamous order to destroy Chicago's
little lakefront airport. Northerly Island may be on a slow glide
path to redevelopment, but people are wondering whether the land was
put to proper use.
As the 10th anniversary approaches,
the Friends of Meigs Field are planning events to remember Meigs
Field and the act that destroyed it.
A missing man flyover of the airport
is planned for the afternoon of March 31, 2013. Volunteer pilots of
the Tuskegee Airmen Chicago "DODO" Chapter and EAA Young Eagles
program will perform the classic "missing man" maneuver over Meigs
Field in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, you are invited to join
us on the ground outside the Meigs Field terminal building (now
mostly closed to the public). We will be creating a memorial visible
from the air for aerial photographs to create a lasting image for
What: Meigs Field Commemorative
Where: Meet outside the Meigs
Field terminal building
Date: Sunday, March 31, 2013
[Note: Easter Sunday]
Preparation: 1:00 P.M.
Ground Ceremony Begins 1:40
Missing Man Flyover 2:00
P.M. (three passes, missing man on 3rd pass)
Please meet on the East side of the
Meigs Field terminal building at or before 1:30 to assist in the
Parking: Metered lot north of Meigs
terminal building or Adler Planetarium lot
3/28/2013: Chicago Sun-Times, by Fran Spielman,
City Hall reporter:
10 years later:
The nighttime raid that destroyed Meigs Field
Meigs Field ten years ago on March 31,
the day bulldozers dug out portions of the runway
and put large yellow X's on the end of the runway.
The yellow X tells pilots that the airport is closed.
The mastermind behind
it has moved to rural North Carolina to raise goats and make cheese.
The field general works for an electrical contractor after being
jailed for public corruption. And the boss who ordered it is now a
retired mayor with a lucrative career in the private sector.
Come to the 10th Anniversary of the
Midnight Meigs Massacre
Commemorative reception planned, 3/31/13
Night of infamy
The night of March
30-31 is one that lives in infamy for general aviation as the night
Chicago illegally bulldozed the most famous little airport in the
In commemoration of the
event--and as an opportunity for long-time Meigs supporters to
gather and reminisce--Rachel Goodstein, former president of the
Friends of Meigs Field has organized an hors d'oeuvres reception.
Let your voice be heard on anniversary of
Send a letter to the editor
Chicago media outlets
will be covering the 10th anniversary of the undercover demolition
of Meigs. You can express your frustration at the actions of
the City and voice support for the opportunities that a downtown
airport could provide.
Size to nearly quadruple to 30,600, traffic
in a transparent effort to put a good face on the 10th anniversary
of the Meigs Field debacle, this week the Chicago Park District
announced and the Chicago Plan Commission approved plans to nearly
quadruple the size of the concert venue on Northerly Island from
8,000 to 30,600.
Current concert venue, seating 8,000
(Google Earth image, 3/12/2012)
The plan contradicts
all input received by the Park District during planning sessions in
2004--during which all sides (pro-airport and pro-park) expressed
desires not to have a large concert venue on the site.
Moreover, Friends of
the Parks--a Chicago park advocacy group--in February
expressed its opposition to the plan in February, citing
declining concert attendance, incompatibility with park uses, and
privatization of public property. [Ed. Note: Meigs
Field was completely public property.]
Even Chicago Plan
Commissioners expressed concern over the difficulty in bringing over
30,000 concertgoers to the site from remote parking on the other
side of Burnham Harbor. Park District officials expressed
confidence in their ability to make it all work out.
To read details of the
plan and the Plan Commission hearing
Mayor Emanuel: "Reopen Meigs? Nope."
Rob Mark, publisher of JetWhine,
in front of closed Meigs tower
writer and Meigs supporter Rob Mark asked Chicago's present mayor
whether he would reconsider reopening Meigs Field.
The answer was
disappointing but not surprising.
The comments in
response to the column show how raw the topic is to flyers even 10
Army Corps of Engineers approves Park District plan despite
objections, issues with study
Construction to begin this fall
According to news
stories in the
Chicago Tribune and
Chicago Tonight, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved
Chicago Park District's plan to reconfigure the Meigs Field property
with a pond and other artificial natural features, despite the
problems identified by the Friends of Meigs Field during the public
comment period on the USACE's report. (see below.)
On Friday, July 27, the Friends of
Meigs Field dedicated a brick at EAA's Brown Arch, thanking the
national organizations who lent such great support to the efforts to
preserve and restore Meigs Field over the years.
Friends of Meigs president Steve
Whitney was joined by AOPA President Craig Fuller, EAA Young Eagles
program administrator Michelle Kunes, and longtime Meigs supporter
Hal Shevers, founder of Sporty's Pilot Shop.
In the March 17 issue
of the Lawndale Bilingual News, columnist and radio host
"...should we name
something after Mayor Daley?"
"We could re-open Meigs Field and name it Richard M. Daley Field, or
maybe just call it "Apocalypse Now!" after the popular Vietnam War
movie. Daley had it torn to shreds after claiming Osama Bin
Laden might use it for attacks against the city."
Yesterday, former congressman and presidential Chief of Staff Rahm
Emanuel won outright election as mayor of Chicago, gathering 55% of
the vote, and thus avoiding an April runoff. Emanuel is
commonly believed to be more of a pragmatist and less of an
idealogue than Daley.
In the months after his inauguration in
May, Mayor Emanuel will be grappling with enormous economic
problems, including a city and Park District that are effectively
The Friends of Meigs Field Parks and
Planes Plan would bring over $100 million in federal funds to
the Chicago Park District, create an exciting park and aviation
museum, and restore business aviation access to the central business
district, assisting the economic recovery.
Over the coming weeks and months, the
Friends of Meigs Field will be working to bring these opportunities
to the new mayor's attention.
In the wake of Mayor Daley's surprise
announcement that he will not run again in 2011, the Aircraft Owners
and Pilots Association--the world's largest civilian aviation
association--announced its support for efforts to reopen Meigs
According to AOPA president Craig Fuller: "I can make this
commitment on behalf of all those who have fought, and continue to
fight: AOPA will fully investigate any opportunity to bring Meigs
Fuller also stated that despite the
seven years since Meigs' illegal demolition: "The airport has not
been forgotten,” Fuller said. “Grassroots support for Meigs is still
AOPA was vital in the fight to preserve
Meigs Field from 1996 through December 2001, when Mayor Daley agreed
publicly to keep it open for 24 more years, and AOPA members
protested vociferously when Daley reneged on this agreement with his
midnight attack on March 30, 2003.
Today Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley
announced his intention to step down at the end of his term in 2011.
He has served as Chicago's mayor since 1989.
Daley, whose popularity peaked in 2003
and started a long downward slide since his midnight raid on Meigs
Field, faced perhaps the biggest election challenge of his career. A
poll by the Chicago Tribune in July found that over half of Chicago
voters said they did not want to see Daley re-elected in 2011.
This video was partly responsible
for reopening Meigs after its first closure on 9/30/1996.
Parks and Planes: An award-winning proposal by the
Friends of Meigs Field to rebuild Meigs Field as a combination
The Chicago Park District has
asked for public input on the design for a park at Meigs Field's site.
This proposal is in response to that request. The plan is a framework plan
that includes features like:
A combination of new
lakefront parkland and an operating airport.
What is believed to be more
new open space than any new park that has been added to the lakefront in
over 50 years.
Exciting elements like a
meadow, a lookout point, nature walks, harborside promenade, picnic areas,
fishing stations, an artificial scuba reef.
A new Chicago Air Museum
dedicated to the education of Chicago children.
Exciting activities and
events unavailable at any other park in Chicago.
Preservation and improvement
of all of the benefits of an operating airport.
Generation of millions of
dollars in new revenues for the Chicago Park District to use in improving
parks across the city.
All at NO COST TO CHICAGO
To learn more about the plan, sign an online petition, or offer your
Then speak up. The
opportunity is too good to waste.
At midnight, March 30-31, 2003,
illegally and without notice,
Chicago's Mayor Daley demolished the
single runway airport on the planet: Meigs Field.
Meigs Field -- "Coolest Little Airport on the