Meigs Airfield Soon To Be Heliport

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The city of Chicago plans to open a heliport on the lakefront this spring for use by emergency first-responders, the Chicago Tribune reported on Friday. Private use of the site will be allowed only under contract. Aviation access to downtown Chicago was lost when Mayor Richard Daley demolished Meigs Field in March 2003, despite widespread protest from the aviation community. "This shows that Meigs was closed under false pretenses," said Josh Levy, spokesman for Friends of Meigs. The Chicago HeliStop, comprising a single landing pad and one parking spot, is expected to open as early as April, according to the Tribune. "Particularly after the 9/11 attacks, a location close to the center of the city is critical for Chicago and critical for all of us to be able to respond quickly in an emergency," Susan Shea, director of aeronautics for the Illinois Department of Transportation, told the Tribune. About 300 flights per month are expected.