Illinois Supreme Court allows city to acquire cemetery near O'Hare

January 27, 2011

By City Room and The Associated Press

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(Getty/Scott Olson)
Cargo jets sat at a shipping terminal at O'Hare Airport in 2005, just across the fence from the Johannes Cemetery.

The City of Chicago is now free to take over a cemetery near O'Hare International Airport. The city wants the land to expand the airport.

The Illinois Supreme Court refused to take a lawsuit challenging the city's acquisition, in effect, upholding a lower court's opinion that Chicago can have the property where St. Johannes Cemetery is. It's in northwest suburban Bensonville and Chicago wants the property as part of its $15 billion expansion of O'Hare Airport.

The plan calls for 900 buried bodies at the cemetery to be relocated to make way for a new runway. The Department of Aviation says in a statement that 30 bodies had already been moved.

An attorney for the owner of the cemetery says the Supreme Court's decision is pretty close to the end of the line for the issue.