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Cemetery Could Impede O'Hare Expansion

SHARE Cemetery Could Impede O'Hare Expansion

The city of Chicago has offered $630,000 to acquire a cemetery that stands in the way of the billion dollar O’Hare airport expansion.

But representatives for the St. Johannes Cemetery say the issue isn’t a matter of money.

O’Hare’s expansion plan calls for a runway to be built on the site of the cemetery where more than 1,200 graves rest.

While construction continues around the site, the city has made a two-step plan for obtaining the cemetery.

The plan calls for the city to purchase the property and then work with families of the dead on specifics for moving the graves.

But Joseph Karaganis, a lawyer for St. Johannes cemetery, says the plan violates religious rights because moving the graves would interfere with the resurrection of the dead.

He says, " For them to offer money for people to essentially advocate their religious rights is sacrareligious. And I think that is how it will be perceived in the St. John community.”

A federal court blocked the city from taking the land until pending court cases filed by the opponents of the acquisition are finished.

City officials say they want to acquire all the necessary land in order to keep the $15 billion expansion on track.

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