Meigs gets first day in court, rescue efforts continue

November 4, 2003

A small victory for Meigs Field this afternoon: A Cook County judge rejected the city of Chicago's attempt to have one of the lawsuits dismissed immediately. As was expected, the judge deferred a hearing on the city's motion to dismiss until May 16, the date originally set for the court to hear the Friends of Meigs lawsuit. (No hearing has yet been scheduled in AOPA's federal lawsuit.)

In the meantime, a temporary restraining order obtained by the Friends of Meigs will prevent the city from further damaging the facilities at the field.

One of the longstanding rumors about what the mayor would like to do with the Meigs land is build a casino. Daley on Thursday denied a casino is under consideration. He was quoted in the Chicago Tribune, saying, "We're not going to do that. No way. The lakefront is all public property.... It's out of the question."

Interestingly, though, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that he would not be opposed to granting a casino license for the city of Chicago if an eleventh state license were to be made available. Currently, the state of Illinois has approved 10 casino licenses, with stipulations that none of the 10 may be in Chicago. At no point in the Sun-Times article was Northerly Island, home of Meigs Field, mentioned.

On Sunday, April 13, Friends of Meigs is holding a fundraising dinner in Chicago. Proceeds will help pay for their legal challenge. Friends of Meigs officials will explain to dinner guests the latest efforts to preserve the airport.

Many AOPA members have asked what they can do to help, particularly financially. AOPA's greatest strength is the powerful voice of its nearly 400,000 members. Renewing membership and convincing non-member pilots to join adds to that strength and helps provide the funds needed to mount the legal challenges and other actions in AOPA's 12-point plan to save Meigs.

Pilots are asked to boycott Chicago and to urge their trade, professional, and business associations to not hold meetings and conventions in the city. If traveling by airline, members should avoid flights landing in Chicago.

At some point in the future, AOPA may ask members to use their individual voices to contact members of Congress or the Illinois State Legislature.

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