Mon, Mar 31, 2003
Friends Of Meigs: For Homeland Security, Closing Meigs Is The
Riskiest Thing Possible
Official Statement: The City of Chicago
today used surprise and shock tactics to start demolishing Meigs
Field, the world-renowned airport serving downtown, ripping up
runway without notice in the dark of night under police guard.
“We are in shock,” said Rachel Goodstein, president of
the Friends of Meigs Field. “The City of Chicago had agreed
to keep Meigs Field open until 2026,” she said, citing a
December 2001 agreement between Mayor Daley and Governor Ryan.
“This smacks of totalitarianism,” said Goodstein.
“It is nothing but an unmitigated land grab.”
The demolition came without warning, when dozens of heavy
earth-movers descended on Meigs shortly after it closed at 10:00
P.M. Sunday night. The Friends of Meigs only received warning via
news media inquiries. When Friends of Meigs representatives tried
to visit the airport to talk to officials about the situation, they
were turned away from the area by armed police.
“We understand that the City is trying to use
‘homeland security’ as an excuse to destroy Meigs
without notice,” said Goodstein. “Of all of the
possible things they could do, that’s the worst possible for
public security. If there is a security issue at an airport, you
work with the users to resolve it in the least disruptive manner,
you don’t destroy millions of dollars of taxpayer
The Friends of Meigs Field have repeatedly pointed out
that—not only does Meigs Field regularly handle medevac
flights and air-sea rescue operations for the lakefront and
downtown high rises—it also is the facility responsible for
control of all air traffic over downtown Chicago. “Meigs
Field is what protects us from what the Mayor fears,” said
Goodstein. Meigs Field’s control tower controls all traffic
within 4 ½ miles of downtown Chicago. Also, since September
11, 2001, security has been tighter at Meigs than at any other
small airport in the state.
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