Chicago's newest tourist attraction | Bleader

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chicago's newest tourist attraction

Posted By on 07.09.08 at 01:16 PM

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My law enforcement sources up in Bensenville tell me that since I wrote about the Dead Zone last week in the Reader it's has become a tourist hot spot.

Apparently, people are driving through to gawk at the ghost town left in the wake of Mayor Daley's ambitious plan to clear out a chunk of Bensenville and turn it into a piece of O'Hare Airport.

There's a sense of urgency. At the moment lawyers for the city are asking Du Page County circuit court judge Kenneth Popejoy to lift his restraining order that keeps the city from bulldozing the houses it owns in the area.

Using real estate sales tactics straight out of David Mamet, the city pressured folks into selling more 500 pieces of property over the last two years. The city says the land is essential to the O'Hare Modernization Program.

Bensenville's fighting on just about every legal front, including arguing that demolishing the buildings will damage the environment. The city countered by hiring a consultant who's now testifying before Judge Popejoy that the demolition will have a minimal environmental impact.

The hearing ends on Thursday. If Judge Popejoy lifts his injunction, the city can bring in the bulldozers and give the Dead Zone the Meigs Field treatment.  Provided, of course, that Bensenville doesn't win another temporary restraining order with an appeal.

In any event, you should take the opportunity to experience the Dead Zone in all of its eerie ghostliness before it's too late. I think it's more fun -- and a lot more educational -- than a trip to Navy Pier, Millennium Park, or any of Mayor Daley's other tourist attractions.

Stay tuned for my bicycle tour of the area.

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