Meigs Airfield Still Under Investigation

July 5, 2006

The Federal Aviation Administration continues to investigate the midnight shut down of Meigs Airfield and how the city paid for it.

In March of 2003, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley ordered large X's carved out on the runway of Meigs field, the lakefront airport just south the Loop.

He said the airfield was a security threat.

But the FAA said the city should have given it 30 days notice and is investigating whether or not the city used funds for airport improvement to deconstruct the runway.

Steve Whitney president of the group Friends of Meigs says closing the airport has cost the city money.

"This was done in the middle of the night and the tax payers are still paying for it," Whitney says. "And if it keeps going the way it's going they're going to continue to pay for it for years."

The city says it's spent more than $500,000 on legal costs, objecting to an initial fine of $33,000 issued by the FAA.

With the new alleged infractions, the FAA could fine the city as much as 9 million dollars.

Meanwhile, parks officials say Meigs Field, now called Northerly Island, makes nearly a million dollars a year from concerts.