Tentative deal with town to expand O'Hare

October 28, 2009 4:20:57 PM PDT
Chicago has a tentative agreement with the city of Bensenville for the demolition of 600 homes to make way for the O'Hare expansion project. Nearly all the people are gone. The houses are empty. As the grass has grown, Chicago's plan to demolish 600 properties in Bensenville for O'Hare expansion has been locked in litigation. That may soon change. The Bensenville village board has approved a tentative agreement with Chicago that could green light demolition.

Neither Bensenville nor Chicago will discuss terms, but both sides say they are excited.

"I think reasonable people can agree," said Frank Soto, Bensenville Mayor.

Bensenville's new mayor said two weeks ago he was optimistic so long as both sides could agree on how the demolition would proceed.

"And what protocols are there to protect the residents of Bensenville, what time of day or night, how many properties per situation or group can they hit?" Soto said.

The tentative agreement addresses similar issues, but Bensenville -- after two decades of fighting O'Hare expansion -- also wants assurances from Chicago that the village can make up some of what it has lost to O'Hare expansion. Those talks continue.

"There has to be a two way street. It just can't be all one way," Mayor Daley said.

MEINCKE: So some assurances have been given?
"Oh there has to be. They have to protect their city as well -- just like Des Plaines has done," Daley said.

MEINCKE: You want to tell me about those assurances?
"Not yet," Daley said.

A court hearing a week from Wednesday could reveal if the tentative agreement on demolition is good-to-go, and then how quickly the bulldozers might arrive.


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