AOPA campaigns with buttons and banner during DNC, protests Chicago’s impending closure of Meigs Field Airport
AOPA took its “Save Meigs Field Airport” campaign to the nation’s top political figures gathered in Chicago for the Democratic National Convention August 26-29.
AOPA flew a 100-foot long aerial banner over Chicago August 27, protesting the impending closure of Meigs. During convention week, AOPA also distributed hundreds of campaign buttons. Banner and buttons bore the message “DECISION 96? KEEP MEIGS AIRPORT OPEN!”
The message related the political convention to Mayor Daley’s apparent denial of the people’s choice as measured in recent newspaper polls. Surveys show more area residents favor keeping Meigs open than closing it.
Members of inner-city communities especially question the $27.2 million expense of converting the airport site to another lakefront park when so much of Chicago’s fashionable lakefront is already parkland. Meanwhile, neighborhood parks go unimproved or ill maintained due to a supposed lack of funds.
The campaign buttons, given to everyone who landed at Meigs, were also popular with Chicago police. The Chicago Police Department maintained a convention command post at the airport, and working officers, recognizing Meigs’ value to the city, took several hundred buttons.
Last-minute airspace restrictions imposed at White House request prevented AOPA’s banner plane from its planned overflight of Meigs Field. Airspace restrictions covering the United Center, site of the convention, also prohibited traffic over Meigs except for takeoff and landing operations.
AOPA made morning and afternoon flights along the Chicago lakefront, diverting inland to the Midway Airport neighborhood to avoid the six-mile-radius restricted area.
AOPA already alerted Midway neighbors through full-page newspaper ads that Meigs’ closure will bring more air traffic to their neighborhood. The banner circled the Midway neighborhood three times.
Banner flights then returned to the Chicago lakefront north of the restricted area to take AOPA’s message to Chicago’s North Side suburbs, then to Palwaukee Airport, an important general aviation reliever field on the west side of the metropolitan area.
The contractor-flown flights originated from Gary Regional Airport on the lakefront in Indiana, just over the Illinois line.
Write to the mayor at: Mayor Richard M. Daley, City Hall, 121 North Lasalle St., Chicago, IL 60602.
August 30, 1996