Daley’s Departure Sparks Hope For Meigs?


The coming departure of Mayor Richard Daley from Chicago has some aviators hoping the window has opened for a return of Meigs Field to Chicago, although there’s currently no hard evidence to support that hope. Meigs Field was rendered unusable in the early hours of March 30, 2003, when Mayor Daley sent heavy construction equipment (unannounced) to alter the runway under cover of darkness. The move stranded some aircraft and ultimately landed the city of Chicago a fine from the FAA, but the airport was lost and now serves as a runway-less public park. Now, the Obama administration is pushing an infrastructure program that includes runway repaving projects, and Mayor Daley says he’ll not seek re-election. But there’s currently no indication that either one of those things would cause the park to be paved over and converted back into a functioning airport. AOPA, however, Thursday announced that it’s supportive of those still seeking the return of Meigs and will work to explore opportunities to bring Meigs back. Other comments left by individuals online were more colorful.

AOPA head Craig Fuller said, “Reopening Meigs Field, with its easy access to Chicago’s Loop, would allow businesses in The City That Works — as Mayor Daley’s father liked to refer to Chicago — to work even more efficiently.” Fuller’s comments were supported by some left in response to an online Chicago news story. Among those that categorized airport interests as “elitist,” we found the following response from a reader self-identified as J.T. Wentworth. It reads: “You know, us rich elitists are sick of paying higher taxes to fund railroads, hospitals, public schools and prisons for the semi-literate morons that make up 80 percent of this city. The least you could do is give us one stinking airport so we can be more efficient in funding the social programs you all seem to need so much.” Another reader, self-identified as John, shared this opinion: “I’m a private pilot that flew in WI on Sunday and went for a jog today on Northerly Island (Meigs Field). In my opinion, in its current green state, this area of Chicago is getting much more use by people and animals than it did as an airport.”