Tuesday, August 5, 2003, marked the final chapter for Chicago's Meigs Field. The Chicago Tribune reports that demolition crews rolled into the airport at about 6:30 a.m. local to begin the final destruction of that city's lakefront airport.
"The day we had all feared has arrived," lamented AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Until now, many had held onto the slimmest of hopes that the airport could still be saved. Now there's no denying that [Chicago Mayor Richard M.] Daley has gotten his way. Meigs is no more. But no one can deny that AOPA and other Meigs supporters fought a valiant fight to save it."
AOPA still has complaints pending with the FAA and the Illinois Department of Transportation over the way in which Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley closed the runway, in the middle of the night with no notice to any federal authority. But the FAA complaint is languishing in the agency's legal department. And all that either complaint would accomplish is a slap-on-the-wrist fine against the city.
And on Capitol Hill, AOPA backed efforts by Congress to make sure nothing like the midnight raid can happen again. The "Meigs Legacy" portion of the FAA reauthorization bill would slap stiff $10,000-a-day fines on any airport sponsor who closes an airport with less than the required notice.