Wisconsin Wants Meigs Tower Back

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It's not just Chicago-area pilots who miss Meigs Field. The state of Wisconsin has formally asked the FAA to reopen the Meigs control tower even though the runway is unusable. Wisconsin transportation officials say the tower did a lot more than regulate the comings and goings at Meigs, before Mayor Richard Daley sent in heavy equipment to destroy it on March 30. They claim the tower helped pilots from Wisconsin navigate the route along Lake Michigan that small aircraft must use to avoid conflicts with airliners using O'Hare. "It helped people fly through Chicago without having to run into hurdles," said Gary Dikkers, airspace manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, efforts continue to convince politicians to reopen Meigs. The Friends of Meigs has polished up a proposal that would create a large area of the park Daley seems to want so badly but still accommodate the airport. In addition to creating at least 100 acres of additional park, the plan calls for improvements to the airport, including new Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard Air Auxiliary facilities and an aviation museum. It would also enhance Meigs' role as a reliever airport to handle light jets and air taxi services. What's more, The Friends of Meigs claims all the funding and more can be obtained through federal grants. The plan was initially proposed months ago and got the cold shoulder from city hall. The organization hopes people will like what they see and sign an online petition to get city officials to consider the plan.