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6/29/2013: "Why in the hell would I want to have another s****y night in that venue? I'll take a refund for my ticket."

Expanded concert venue at Meigs Field
a "disaster"

Click for details and photo of the aftermath
Quagmire at expanded
Meigs Field concert venue
after Jimmy Buffett concert.
(Lee Hogan)

This spring, without public input, the Chicago Park District expanded the Northerly Island (Meigs) concert venue from 9,000 to 30,000.

The first full-scale concert in the facility proved "disastrous", with problems with access and egress, mud, even concessions.

Click here for news coverage from:


Chicago Tribune


Huffington Post

Jerry Adelman of Openlands even wrote to the Tribune, complaining of "swift and unilateral" decision-making by the Chicago Park District "without opportunity for public input or regard to adverse impacts..."

Ironic, huh?  Funny, we don't recall him speaking up when Meigs Field was destroyed at midnight.


 Friends of Meigs salute flyover
(Michael Tercha/Tribune)

Missing man flyover

Aerial view (Lee Hogan)

Friends of Meigs Field commemorate Meigs on
10th anniversary of airport's illegal destruction

On Sunday, March 31, 2013, members of the Friends of Meigs Field marked the 10th anniversary of the night of destruction of "The Coolest Little Airport on the Planet" with a giant yellow ribbon and a commemorative flyover.

Click here to read the story from EAA.
Click here for the Chicago Tribune's photo coverage.

3/31/2013: Chicago Tribune, by Jon Hilkevitch, transportation reporter:

Meigs Field remembered as a 'negative aspect of Daley regime'

10 years after Daley's Meigs Field raid, the makeover of Northerly Island is slow to take shape
One of the last planes
to leave Meigs Field takes off in 2003.
(Phil Velasquez/Tribune)

Ten years ago Mayor Richard M. Daley issued the now infamous order to destroy Chicago's little lakefront airport. Northerly Island may be on a slow glide path to redevelopment, but people are wondering whether the land was put to proper use.

Click here to read the story.
Click here for a photo history.


Commemorative Flyover Planned for Meigs

Join Us on Sunday afternoon, 3/31

Meigs Field with X's
(AOPA photo)

Missing man flyover planned

As the 10th anniversary approaches, the Friends of Meigs Field are planning events to remember Meigs Field and the act that destroyed it.

Missing Man Flyover

A missing man flyover of the airport is planned for the afternoon of March 31, 2013. Volunteer pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen Chicago "DODO" Chapter and EAA Young Eagles program will perform the classic "missing man" maneuver over Meigs Field in the afternoon.

Ground Ceremony--Join Us

Meanwhile, you are invited to join us on the ground outside the Meigs Field terminal building (now mostly closed to the public). We will be creating a memorial visible from the air for aerial photographs to create a lasting image for the airport.

Event Details

bulletWhat: Meigs Field Commemorative Flyover
bulletWhere: Meet outside the Meigs Field terminal building
bulletDate: Sunday, March 31, 2013 [Note: Easter Sunday]
bulletPreparation: 1:00 P.M.
bulletGround Ceremony Begins 1:40 P.M.
bulletMissing Man Flyover 2:00 P.M. (three passes, missing man on 3rd pass)

Please meet on the East side of the Meigs Field terminal building at or before 1:30 to assist in the ground preparations.

Parking: Metered lot north of Meigs terminal building or Adler Planetarium lot

3/28/2013: Chicago Sun-Times, by Fran Spielman, City Hall reporter:

10 years later:
The nighttime raid that destroyed Meigs Field

Meigs Field ten years ago on March 31, 2003,
the day bulldozers dug out portions of the runway
and put large yellow X's on the end of the runway.
The yellow X tells pilots that the airport is closed.
Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

The mastermind behind it has moved to rural North Carolina to raise goats and make cheese. The field general works for an electrical contractor after being jailed for public corruption. And the boss who ordered it is now a retired mayor with a lucrative career in the private sector.

Click here to read the story and leave a comment.

Come to the 10th Anniversary of the
Midnight Meigs Massacre

Commemorative reception planned, 3/31/13

Night of infamy
(Tribune photo,
David Klobucar)

The night of March 30-31 is one that lives in infamy for general aviation as the night Chicago illegally bulldozed the most famous little airport in the world.

In commemoration of the event--and as an opportunity for long-time Meigs supporters to gather and reminisce--Rachel Goodstein, former president of the Friends of Meigs Field has organized an hors d'oeuvres reception.

You are invited to attend; please join us!
RSVP required by Wed. 3/27

3:00-6:00 P.M.  Sunday, March 31,
Maggiano's, 516 N Clark St.

Click for details.

Let your voice be heard on anniversary of
Meigs' destruction

Send a letter to the editor

Chicago media outlets will be covering the 10th anniversary of the undercover demolition of Meigs.  You can express your frustration at the actions of the City and voice support for the opportunities that a downtown airport could provide.

Letters to the editor links:


Chicago Tribune


Chicago Sun-Times


Southtown Star


Daily Herald


Chicago Defender

March 2013:

AOPA Retrospective: 10 Years Later--Meigs

AOPA: 10 Years Later--Meigs
Shuttered Meigs
terminal building
(AOPA photo)

'We did not go down without a fight'

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association recently published a 10-year retrospective on the destruction of Meigs Field, the fight, what was learned, and what has changed.

Read the article here.


Park District to expand Meigs site concert venue

Size to nearly quadruple to 30,600, traffic concerns cited

Timed in a transparent effort to put a good face on the 10th anniversary of the Meigs Field debacle, this week the Chicago Park District announced and the Chicago Plan Commission approved plans to nearly quadruple the size of the concert venue on Northerly Island from 8,000 to 30,600.

Current concert venue, seating 8,000
(Google Earth image,

The plan contradicts all input received by the Park District during planning sessions in 2004--during which all sides (pro-airport and pro-park) expressed desires not to have a large concert venue on the site.

Moreover, Friends of the Parks--a Chicago park advocacy group--in February expressed its opposition to the plan in February, citing declining concert attendance, incompatibility with park uses, and privatization of public property.  [Ed. Note:  Meigs Field was completely public property.]

Even Chicago Plan Commissioners expressed concern over the difficulty in bringing over 30,000 concertgoers to the site from remote parking on the other side of Burnham Harbor.  Park District officials expressed confidence in their ability to make it all work out.

To read details of the plan and the Plan Commission hearing click here.


Mayor Emanuel: "Reopen Meigs? Nope."

Read Rob's column in JetWhine
Rob Mark, publisher of JetWhine,
in front of closed Meigs tower
(JetWhine photo)

Aviation publisher, writer and Meigs supporter Rob Mark asked Chicago's present mayor whether he would reconsider reopening Meigs Field.

The answer was disappointing but not surprising.

The comments in response to the column show how raw the topic is to flyers even 10 years later.

Read the column here in


Steinberg: Which is it Mr. Mayor?

Read Neil Steinberg's column on Daley's "crime"
Neil Steinberg,
Sun-Times columnist
(S-T photo)

Was Daley right or wrong?

Sun-Times columnist asks Mayor Rahm Emanuel to explain his comments on Daley's midnight act.

In remarks on the plans to create a fish pond on the Meigs site, Emanuel first seemed to support the midnight raid on Meigs, then does an about face.

Steinberg later clarifies: What happened to Meigs "was a crime."

Read the column here.


WLS-AM 890 Roe & Roeper on Meigs

Listen as Roe Conn and Richard Roeper interview Friends of Meigs Field president Steve Whitney about Mayor Emanuel's plan to put an artificial fish pond on Northerly Island.

Click here to listen.


Army Corps of Engineers approves Park District plan despite objections, issues with study

Construction to begin this fall

According to news stories in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Tonight, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved Chicago Park District's plan to reconfigure the Meigs Field property with a pond and other artificial natural features, despite the problems identified by the Friends of Meigs Field during the public comment period on the USACE's report. (see below.)

A press release from Mayor Emanuel's office contains details.


Young Eagles program coordinator Michelle Kunes and Friends of Meigs president Steve Whitney at brick dedication

Friends of Meigs thank national partners
Dedicate brick at Airventure

On Friday, July 27, the Friends of Meigs Field dedicated a brick at EAA's Brown Arch, thanking the national organizations who lent such great support to the efforts to preserve and restore Meigs Field over the years.

Friends of Meigs president Steve Whitney was joined by AOPA President Craig Fuller, EAA Young Eagles program administrator Michelle Kunes, and longtime Meigs supporter Hal Shevers, founder of Sporty's Pilot Shop.

The brick reads:


Thank you for your support.

May the spirit of Merrill C. Meigs never die.

The Friends of Meigs Field


Friends of Meigs Express Concerns to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On June 7, 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published for public comment a study on the Chicago Park District's plan for Northerly Island.

Friends of Meigs Field responded, expressing concerns on a variety of issues, including:


Environmental contaminant concerns


Erosion issues


Possible issues with soil sampling locations based on errors in the site description and history


Even the title of the report. (In no way can the project be considered "restoration"; the land did not exist prior to the 1920's, and was never home to any land-based "ecosystem.")

For the details, click here


bullet Chicago Park District "framework plan"
bullet USACE Study
bullet Friends of Meigs Field Comments

Friends of Meigs Field Speakers Bureau

Invite Friends of Meigs Field to be
your group's next speaker!

Are you looking for an interesting speaker for your next civic, neighborhood, or aviation-related meeting?

The Friends of Meigs Field Speakers Bureau can fill the bill.

Friends of Meigs has dynamic speakers who can present on topics such as:


The History of Meigs Field and Chicago's Lakefront


Aviation Trends in the Chicago Region


Adverse Consequences: The Effects of Closing Meigs


Saving Your Local Airport

Presentations include Powerpoint/slide graphics.  Groups of 20 or more.

Contact us at for more information


Meigs in the Movies (FAA division)

From B. Kelly (

"Thought you might like to see this. Great shots of Meigs in the beginning..."

A Traveler Meets Air Traffic Control (FAA, 1963)


Naming Things for Daley?

In the March 17 issue of the Lawndale Bilingual News, columnist  and radio host Ray Hanania writes:

"...should we name something after Mayor Daley?"
"We could re-open Meigs Field and name it Richard M. Daley Field, or maybe just call it "Apocalypse Now!" after the popular Vietnam War movie.  Daley had it torn to shreds after claiming Osama Bin Laden might use it for attacks against the city."

Read the whole column here.  (Forwarded by Larry Nazimek)


John Garrido (45th Ward candidate)
endorses Meigs

Friend of Meigs Field, Larry Nazimek, writes:

"John Garrido was the top vote getter in the 45th Ward, with about 33% of the vote, so he will run in the April 4 runoff.

"He has signed our Meigs let you know that he's on our side. "

Friends of Meigs Field--as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization--cannot make endorsements in elections, but we certainly can let you know the candidates' positions.  Bear this in mind when you vote on (or before) April 5.  You can donate to Garrido's campaign here.


Rahm Emanuel wins mayoral election

Yesterday, former congressman and presidential Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel won outright election as mayor of Chicago, gathering 55% of the vote, and thus avoiding an April runoff.  Emanuel is commonly believed to be more of a pragmatist and less of an idealogue than Daley.

In the months after his inauguration in May, Mayor Emanuel will be grappling with enormous economic problems, including a city and Park District that are effectively broke.

The Friends of Meigs Field Parks and Planes Plan would bring over $100 million in federal funds to the Chicago Park District, create an exciting park and aviation museum, and restore business aviation access to the central business district, assisting the economic recovery.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Friends of Meigs Field will be working to bring these opportunities to the new mayor's attention.

For more on the Parks and Planes plan, Click here.


AOPA announces support for reopened Meigs

In the wake of Mayor Daley's surprise announcement that he will not run again in 2011, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association--the world's largest civilian aviation association--announced its support for efforts to reopen Meigs Field.

According to AOPA president Craig Fuller:  "I can make this commitment on behalf of all those who have fought, and continue to fight: AOPA will fully investigate any opportunity to bring Meigs Field back.”

Fuller also stated that despite the seven years since Meigs' illegal demolition: "The airport has not been forgotten,” Fuller said. “Grassroots support for Meigs is still alive."

AOPA was vital in the fight to preserve Meigs Field from 1996 through December 2001, when Mayor Daley agreed publicly to keep it open for 24 more years, and AOPA members protested vociferously when Daley reneged on this agreement with his midnight attack on March 30, 2003.

Read the whole story..


Daley to Step Down
Announces decision not to run again in 2011

Today Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley announced his intention to step down at the end of his term in 2011. He has served as Chicago's mayor since 1989.

Daley, whose popularity peaked in 2003 and started a long downward slide since his midnight raid on Meigs Field, faced perhaps the biggest election challenge of his career. A poll by the Chicago Tribune in July found that over half of Chicago voters said they did not want to see Daley re-elected in 2011.

Click for the details.

11/10/2009:  Chicago lost the Olympics, so it's back to the drawing board

Friends of Meigs Field Boycott Park District Meeting

The Friends of Meigs Field, announce a boycott of the Chicago Park District’s design workshop on ideas for the Meigs Field site, also known as Northerly Island.

Click for the details.

3/30/2008:  Five years after the destruction of Meigs Field

Driving Away Business--Five Years Later

Chicago's lost market share since Meigs' closureSince first closing Meigs Field, Chicago has lost over half of its market share of general and corporate aviation in the U.S.

Click for the details.

3/30/2008:  Fifth Anniversary of the Meigs Midnight Massacre

"Meigs Field: Still the only U.S. infrastructure destroyed by terrorism since 9/11/2001."

On March 30, 2008 Chicago mourns the 5th anniversary of the midnight destruction of Meigs Field.

Read the column "Reflections on a Dark Night in Chicago", by Steve Whitney, president of the Friends of Meigs Field


Watch the 1996 video,
"Mission Possible: 
Save Meigs Field"

This video was partly responsible for reopening Meigs after its first closure on 9/30/1996.

Parks and Planes: An award-winning proposal by the Friends of Meigs Field to rebuild Meigs Field as a combination park/airport:

Parks and Planes: A Vision for Meigs Field and Northerly Island

The Chicago Park District has asked for public input on the design for a park at Meigs Field's site.  This proposal is in response to that request.  The plan is a framework plan that includes features like:


A combination of new lakefront parkland and an operating airport.


What is believed to be more new open space than any new park that has been added to the lakefront in over 50 years. 


Exciting elements like a meadow, a lookout point, nature walks, harborside promenade, picnic areas, fishing stations, an artificial scuba reef.


A new Chicago Air Museum dedicated to the education of Chicago children.


Exciting activities and events unavailable at any other park in Chicago.


Preservation and improvement of all of the benefits of an operating airport.


Generation of millions of dollars in new revenues for the Chicago Park District to use in improving parks across the city.



To learn more about the plan, sign an online petition, or offer your support,
click here.

Then speak up.  The opportunity is too good to waste.



At midnight, March 30-31, 2003,
illegally and without notice,
Chicago's Mayor Daley demolished the
best-known single runway airport on the planet: 
Meigs Field.

Meigs Field -- "Coolest Little Airport on the Planet"™

News Feeds:
Aviation News



Clout City, Reader:

Natl. Business Aviation Assn.:

Jon Hilkevitch, Tribune:

Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assn.:

Ben Joravsky, Reader:

Experimental Aircraft Assn.:

Rob Mark, JetWhine:

Aviation Intl News:

John Kass, TribuneChicago Politics:


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Friends of Meigs Field
P.O. Box 59-7308 , Chicago, IL 60659-7308
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