100-Year-Old Farmer Fights Illinois Airport

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on June 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm

What traveler doesn’t enjoy a brand new airport? But we never really thought at what cost. Last week a 100-year-old farmer, Anthony Rudis, is claiming that the state of Illinois, in its attempts to acquire his land to build an airport, has crossed the line and is now harassing him.

It’s a political scam. You see politicians wringing their hands and crying in front of cameras about the deficit, yet they’re spending hundreds of millions on unnecessary programs and empty ideas. I have no intention of leaving my land for that.

According to WLS 890 AM, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has intentions of building the state’s third airport near Peotone, about an hour from Chicago’s international airport, O’Hare. Mr. Rudis’s land is the largest property in the footprint of the proposed airport.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport [Image: kla4067 / Flickr]

He (and his wife, who died in 2008) have owned 614 acres for the past 42 years. He set aside 440 of those for the state’s largest reforesting project, for which he receives subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He’s dedicated 80 acres to re-establishing native prairie habitat. He has been dealing with the state for the past decade, but efforts to get him off his property have seemingly stepped up lately.

He considers recent actions (IDOT parked a van near his lot and walked the perimeter) as intimidation tactics. “What are they going to observe? There haven’t been any earthquakes or the development of sudden canyons,” he said. “Nothing has changed. They could have checked their records, but yet here they were.”

Mr. Rudis wants documentation proving that the airport is actually needed, a claim that he refutes. He says that he’s not opposed to the airport, he just doesn’t think that the state has shown any evidence that it is actually required. He has no inclination to leave his property and intends to defend his land.

Tags: airport, Chicago, idot, illinois, peotone

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