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Chicago mayor justifies predecessor’s choice to destroy Meigs Field


The 2003 destruction of Meigs Field on Chicago’s lakefront ranks as one of the most infamous acts of former mayor Richard M. Daley. But last week the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, called Daley’s actions “the right thing to do,” now that the area is being converted into a park and nature preserve. In the middle of the night in 2003, Daley ordered bulldozers to gouge giant X marks in Meigs’ only runway; aircraft parked that night had to get FAA waivers to take off from a parallel taxiway. The FAA eventually fined the city $33,000 and made it pay back $1 million in federal airport funds that were used to tear up the airport. But now the city is using a $2.8 million federal grant to turn the man-made 40-acre airport footprint into a nature preserve that can be used for hiking and camping.