Illinois appeals court blocks grave moves

Chris Rizo Feb. 19, 2010, 3:18pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline)-An Illinois appeals court has blocked the city of Chicago from relocating graves in a historic cemetery in order to make room for a runway at the city's O'Hare International Airport.

The city sought to acquire the 161-year-old St. Johannes Cemetery from St. John's United Church of Christ for $630,000.

In its decision, the appeals court said the city cannot move graves in cases where families object so they and the church could have time to appeal.

The appeals court panel granted the temporary restraining order late Thursday, ordering a halt to disinterments. Already, the city of Chicago has removed some of the graves with the consent of relatives.

DuPage County Judge Hollis Webster had previously approved the "quick take" transfer of the 5-acre cemetery. The city is seeking the property to build a new runway by next year under its $15 billion O'Hare Modernization Program.

The cemetery, which contains approximately 1,200 graves, was founded in 1849.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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