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Meigs Field

Merrill C. Meigs Field Airport (IATA airport code CGX) was a single strip airport built on Northerly Island, the landfill originally created to house the 1932 Century of Progress in Chicago, Illinois. The airport opened on December 10, 1948 and became the country's busiest single-strip airport by 1955. The latest air traffic tower was built in 1952 and the terminal was dedicated in 1961.

The airport was a familiar sight on the downtown lake front. It was also well known because it is used as a destination in the introductory tutorial for Microsoft's Flight Simulator program.

The Main Terminal Building was operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation and contains waiting areas as well as office and counter space. The runway at Meigs Feld was nearly 3900 feet long and 150 feet wide. In addition, there were four public helicopter pads at the south end of the runway, near McCormick Place. The north end of the runaway was near the Adler Planetarium.

In 1995, Mayor Richard M. Daley's office recommended closing Meigs Field and turning Northerly Island into 75 acres of lakefront park. A compromise was reached between Chicago, the State of Illinois, and others to keep the airport open in 2001. However, the federal legislation component of the deal did not pass the United States Congress.

With controversial move on March 30th of 2003, Mayor Daley closed the airport by bulldozing large 'X's into the runway late that night. Since this was done without prior notice, a dozen planes were left stranded at the airport.

The Mayor's office stated the reasons for closing the field were safety concerns:

  1. That a plane might accidentally crash into one of the skyscrapers downtown.
  2. That terrorists could use flying to Meigs Field as an excuse to fly a plane into a skyscraper downtown.

As of April 2003, several groups lead by the Friends of Meigs Field[?] were beginning another court battle to have the airport re-opened.

However, as of June 2003, the conversion to a lakefront park was fully underway, and it was highly unlikely the airport would ever be re-opened. The total cost of the park conversion was estimated at 2.6 million USD, but the Mayor's office had not yet stated where that money would come from.



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