Can planes and parks share space?

Do you know someplace where an airport and a public park peacefully coexist? The Friends of Meigs Field would like you to share that information with the Chicago Park District.

The Friends of Meigs are smarting from an article that recently appeared in the Chicago Tribune in which Arnold Randall, the department’s director of planning and development, stated, “There are no parks where airstrips are a compatible use. Typically, park spaces are places you can go and escape from urban life and noises.”

The comment was made during a brainstorming session to come up with options for uses for the former Meigs Field. Mayor Richard Daley and other city officials want to turn the land into a nature park.

The Friends of Meigs Field are proposing part of the land be turned back into an airport with a public park next to it. The proposal includes space for a visitor center and perhaps even an aviation museum.

Meigs Field was destroyed late at night on March 30, 2003, when workmen operating on the orders of Daley carved large Xs into the runway. At first Daley claimed the midnight destruction was done to protect the public from airborne terrorist attacks launched from the airport. He later admitted there had not been any threats against the city. For several years Daley has wanted to close the airport.

The closure was done without notifying the FAA or the public, including the businesses and aircraft owners at the airport. The FAA has since fined the city for the unauthorized destruction.

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