Hey, Park Ridge, how do you like those O'Hare Airport jets now?

With the urging of precinct and patronage workers from Chicago that flooded into Park Ridge, voters in the northern suburb several years ago decided to drop out of the Suburban O’Hare Commission, a coalition of suburbs that opposed the expansion of O’Hare Airport.

In the election, the voters also tossed out the suburb’s mayor, Ron Wietecha, a dedicated public servant, a decent guy and a SOC supporter.

The anti-SOC election campaign was part of the former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s efforts to eliminate the opposition one by one until only a couple–Bensenville and Elk Grove Village–were left standing. It worked.

When the  first new runway–running east and west on the northern edge of the runway–opened, it brought the planes right over Park Ridge–as many as 400 flights daily down Belle Plaine Avenue.

Explained the Tribune:

In a Nov. 26 letter to state and federal elected officials, Park Ridge leaders said:

“In November 2008, the first new runway in 40 years opened at O’Hare sending as many as 400 flights daily down Belle Plaine Avenue. For residents close to the new runway, there are days when flights as loud as a lawn mower occur every 45 seconds for hours on end. Pollution is increased, safety is a concern, sleep is disrupted, outdoor areas cannot be used for conversation, and the quality of life has decreased considerably.”

….The project will entail closing down certain runways over Arlington Heights and opening additional ones with flight patterns over Park Ridge.

That new runway destroyed the  St. Johannes Cemetery in Bensenville, which required the reinternment of 1,494 bodies. The lawsuit opposing the destruction of the cemetery was recently settled at a cost to the city of about $17 million. The Tribune story is here.


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