Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics has begun an aggressive community outreach program, according to the state’s latest airport improvement plan for 2012 – 2014.
One of the first items of business is to donate food and cash to Helping Hands of Peotone, a food pantry that serves families in Will County.
Helping Hands is a wonderful organization of volunteers that got its start in the late 1980’s by a small group of caring women who devoted their time and talents to stitch new clothes for needy children. As the needs of the community grew, the focus to provide needy families with life’s bare necessities shifted toward the most essential need—food. Today Helping Hands is a member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
While on the surface such a gesture sounds noble, it must not be forgotten that IDOT and its agencies and employees have a long history of trying to sell the
proposed airport to anyone who would
listen through aggressive public relations work. These same people
participating in this seemingly good faith move are the same ones that have
earned five– and six-figure salaries, paid by Illinois taxpayers for decades,
to work on a project that most in the region do not want—the Peotone Airport.
While it is good to want to make nice with the people of Will County, it must
not be forgotten that these are the same people responsible for the destruction
and decimation of the rural community that lies between
Beecher and Peotone.
The Peotone Airport has been their golden goose, so it is nice to see them want to give something back for a change. The participating organizations so far have meant nothing but destruction and decimation to eastern Will County.
Let us not forget that more than a decade ago, this was the before and after view of a rural house—the first house destroyed by IDOT in the name of the Peotone Airport in December 2000. Since this time, there have been dozens of perfectly good, livable houses, destroyed, hundreds of letters to landowners threatening to take property through eminent domain for a project that remains unapproved by the FAA, not to mention the destruction of a once-cohesive rural community and its functional farm economy for an airport that is opposed by the industry it is supposed to serve, the people who would be its neighbors, and several government agencies that have signed resolutions against it.
I applaud this gesture that will benefit hundreds of needy people. I just can’t help, knowing the history, if this is being done in good faith or just so they can look good for a change.
For this positive effort, IDOT will bring together the following participants:
- AECOM, Chicago
- Alpine Demolition, Geneva
- C.J. Pohrte Maintenance Inc., Steger
- Chicago Title Insurance Co., Joliet
- DL Dubois & Associates Ltd., Hickory Hills
- Hanson Professional Services Inc., Tinley Park
- IDOT, Division of Aeronautics, Springfield
- Kowalenko Consulting Group, Chicago
- Mach Security Operations Inc., Beecher
- Midwest Environmental Consulting Services Inc., Yorkville
- Peter and Dorothy Quattrocchi, Oak Lawn
- South Suburban Airport staff, Peotone
- Southcomb & Associates, Joliet
- Susan Shea, Director, Springfield
- Total Property Maintenance, University Park
- William H. Metz & Associates, Oak Forest
- Windy City Home Inspections, Highland Park