Ronald Payne sent in this blast from the past for Picture of the Day, a photo of base to final at Meigs Field in Chicago. The photo was taken in 1997, six years before the airport was closed.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley had been trying to close the airport on Northerly Island since 1994 to open a park, but had little luck. After a brief closure from October 1996 through February 1997, he was forced by the state legislature to reopen the airport.
In 2001, the city struck a compromise deal with the State of Illinois and others to keep the airport open for the next 25 years. However, the federal legislation component of the deal did not pass the United States Senate.
In a controversial move on the night of Sunday, March 30, 2003, Daley ordered city crews to destroy the runway by bulldozing large X-shaped gouges into the runway surface in the middle of the night. No notice of the demolition was given to the FAA or the owners of the planes tied down at the field. As a result, 16 planes were left stranded at an airport with no operating runway. The stranded aircraft were later allowed to depart from Meigs’ 3,000′ taxiway.