Opponents Line Up Against Daley’s Airport Proposal
CHICAGO (AP) _ Residents lined up against Mayor Richard M. Daley’s plan to build a third airport in Chicago, voicing concern that their neighborhoods would be eliminated by his proposal.
″Isn’t there some other place he could put this thing, some other place than this town?″ resident Mary Ann Kolojay asked.
The plan would virtually obliterate her Hegewisch neighborhood on Chicago’s far southeast side.
Hegewisch - an old steel mill neighborhood separated from the city by stretches of landfills, factories and vacant lots - is one of two neighborhoods and two suburbs where 6,700 homes and 47 businesses would be demolished to make way for the proposed Lake Calumet Airport.
″We have all this land everywhere and they still have to flatten this town,″ Kolojay said, while working a cash register at a local food store.
″Why not Bridgeport?″ said resident Mike Hennessy, referring to Daley’s neighborhood.
Daley said the $4.9 billion project would rejuvenate an area impoverished over the last decade by the decline of the mills and other industry. He said the airport would generate 200,000 jobs and $13.7 billion in annual revenue.
The airport, scheduled to open in 2010, would be 20 percent larger than O’Hare International Airport on the city’s far northwest side and 15 times the size of Midway Airport, southwest of Chicago.
O’Hare has been criticized by federal officials as being overcrowded and the cause of national travel delays. The question of a third airport has been under debate for months and four other sites have been proposed.
Federal Transportation Secretary Samuel K. Skinner and Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson said that Daley’s proposal, unveiled Thursday, will be considered with the others.
″We are a long way from having a third airport,″ said Gregory Baise, chairman of a three-state committee conducting a $6 million, study to pick a rural south suburban site. ″I would view (Daley’s) plan very skeptically.″