Chicago has reached a settlement with St. John United Church of Christ that includes a $1.3 million payment for church land that had housed a cemetery moved to make way for a new runway at O'Hare International Airport, according to published reports.
The settlement ends a five-year battle between the city and church, which fought the city's efforts to acquire the land through eminent domain and relocate St. John's cemetery in Bensenville. The cemetery was located on a five-acre property owned by the church which was in the path of a planned runway under the city's ongoing $8 billion partly bond-financed expansion of O'Hare.
An Illinois appellate court in 2010 upheld a DuPage County court ruling allowing Chicago to acquire St. Johannes Cemetery, which cleared the way for the new runway. The lower court had said Chicago could use its eminent domain powers to acquire the cemetery.
Although the city acquired the land in 2010 the two sides remained in dispute over a price tag for the land. The city covered the $17 million costs of relocating those buried in the cemetery.