BENSENVILLE – Standing behind a neglected bridal party table littered with lipstick-stained wine glasses and half-eaten slices of mocha buttercream cake from Saturday night’s Dietz-Lombardo wedding reception, Village President Frank Soto implored more than 300 empathetic Bensenville residents, business owners and dignitaries gathered in the Pine Room of the White Pines Golf Course Sunday morning to help Elmhurst citizens cope with the runway rotation schedule at O’Hare International Airport that will direct departures and arrivals over their “great city” during the late-night and early morning hours this week.
The baffling inclusion of Elmhurst for a second time in the “Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Plan” – a six-month test that distributes jet noise among suburban communities near O’Hare by rotating the runways used for overnight flights – sparked Bensenville’s effort to assist Elmhurst residents and led Soto to declare August 21st through August 27th “Elmhurst Aircraft Noise Awareness Week”.
“It’s our humanitarian obligation to do everything within our power to make sure the people of Elmhurst get their rest at night,” said an emotional Soto, wearing an Elmhurst Aircraft Noise Awareness Week t-shirt with a line-drawing of an airplane flying over the York Theater. “My understanding is that many of the families in the flight path had to sleep in their basement media rooms and guest bedrooms last time. And that makes me sick to my stomach.”
After hearing reports of how frightened and inconvenienced their neighbors to the south were during the first flight rotation over Elmhurst last month, “hordes” of Bensenville residents reached out to Soto, asking what they can do to help Elmhurst persevere through this week’s noise intrusion.
“The pillars of our business community have really come through with provisions for Elmhurst citizens this week,” continued Soto, highlighting the 75-pound donation of Chaleco cheese fondue dip from De Campana Restaurant and Jade Dragon’s contribution of 200 egg rolls and roughly 1,300 packets of sweet and sour sauce, scheduled to be dispatched with other supplements to those neighborhoods impacted the most by the treacherous sound of cargo aircraft and Boeing 747’s flying over their homes between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. “And I would like to give a special thanks to the guys over at Victory Auto Wreckers for delivering everything in one of their flatbed trucks.”
While Elmhurst homeowners are thankful for Bensenville’s support, many are still struggling to understand how living seven miles from the fourth-busiest airport in the world can be such a nuisance.
“When we bought this house, the realtor told us that O’Hare recognizes the more prestigious towns surrounding the airport and directs fewer planes over them,” said miffed N. Ida Lane resident Mark Rubio, who confessed that he only travels to Bensenville to shop for a new car or to enjoy the LibertyFest Fourth of July fireworks show at Redmond Park. “I’ve called every complaint number and filled out every survey, and I haven’t heard back from anyone.”
The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission and the Chicago Department of Aviation are asking people within hearing distance of O’Hare to fill out surveys weekly describing noise levels after each rotation at www.airportprojects.net/flyquiettest/.