Meigs Reopens As Park

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They've opened a "run way" at Meigs Field -- but not for airplanes. An asphalt running path has been installed around a 90-acre artificial meadow that, until about 16 months ago, was a bustling GA airport on Chicago's waterfront. Now called Northerly Island park, the green space opened to the public without fanfare last week and got high marks from the handful of people who stumbled across the suddenly open gate. "I'd take this over an airport, anytime," Nick Straub, a university manager, told the Chicago Sun-Times. For now, the airport site is a bare-bones layout of prairie grasses, wildflowers and the running track. After an official reopening this fall, Chicago parks officials will hold a series of public meetings on how the land should be developed. Rotary International has already pledged $275,000 for an entrance with paving stones and 100 trees and the Chicago Maritime Society is hoping to build a museum there. And let's not forget the Friends of Meigs, who envision park space and a small airport coexisting side by side. As for Straub, who was fishing when the Sun-Times came across him, his vision would be much less costly... and potentially less controversial. "Leave it just like this," he said. "I don't want to see it developed."