By Annemarie Mannion
Special to the Tribune
July 9, 2000

There are no plans to shutter Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook, but the village and a developer are planning for what could happen if recreational pilots stop landing there.

A conceptual plan unveiled at a recent Plan Commission meeting calls for the entire 72 acres to be zoned for commercial and residential development.

"This plan isn't an indication that Clow Airport is going away tomorrow," said Joel Strassman, a village planner. "But if it ever goes away, this is the manner the property will be redeveloped."

Two pieces of the property, one 16 acres and another 7 acres, would be zoned for business and commercial development.

The remaining acreage would be designated for residential development and would accommodate 111 single-family lots.

The village is in the process of annexing the property, which has had runways since 1957 when Boyd Clow cleared a half-mile strip and constructed the first one out of sod.

The airport is used mostly by recreational pilots. In 1998, there were about 70,000 takeoffs and landings at the facility, which can claim status as a commercial airport because of the asphalt runway installed in 1973.

Jim Saloga, an attorney representing developer Joseph DePaulo, presented a proposal to the Plan Commission to add a helicopter pad and more hangars.

These facilities may be added regardless of whether the airport is ever redeveloped for commercial and residential uses, he said.

Saloga said DePaulo has made improvements to the airport. Over the last couple of years, runways and hangars have been shifted to the west side.

The east side of the original airport property already has commercial development. A Meijer store, for instance, stands on what had been 38 acres of Clow's land.

Residents who live near the airport said they are pleased about possible long-range uses for the property. However, one resident said the recent relocation of runways has created a noise problem.

"(The noise) is much more intensified. You have everything packed into a narrow strip," the resident said.

To address the noise problem, Saloga said he would discuss with neighbors the possibility of erecting a fence between the airport and their homes.