Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling is starting a sound insulation program to help residents affected by jets flying in and out of the facility.
To kick off the QuieterHome initiative, the airport hosted an open house Tuesday night at Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Chicago North Shore in Prospect Heights. Airport-area residents were able to ask questions about the multiyear QuieterHome program and view a map displaying potentially eligible areas based on measured levels of jet noise.
Airport Executive Director Jamie Abbott said QuieterHome work will begin next year and is part of the facility's effort to be a good neighbor.
"It's been a long process," Abbott said. "It's a huge program. I kind of call it a big-boy program, because a lot of big airports do these, the O'Hares and the Midways of the world, commercial service airports."
Chicago Executive has approval for a $2.5 million grant recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport, which is owned by Wheeling and Prospect Heights, must provide 10% -- an additional $250,000 -- that'll go toward sound insulating materials such as new exterior doors, acoustic windows and ventilation systems.
Abbott said about 400 residences in the loudest areas are potentially eligible for QuieterHome, which will cover Wheeling, Prospect Heights and a sliver of Mount Prospect. Roughly another 2,500 homes in a second, lower-noise tier also could be in the mix.
Final eligibility will be determined by acoustic tests inside and outside of a home, along with a structure's age and condition.
Penny Merritt of Syracuse, New York-based C&S Companies will be in charge of QuieterHome and work from a Wheeling office at 204 Industrial Lane. She said the program will start small by conducting noise tests at 30 randomly selected single-family homes before deciding on the first 10 to receive the sound-reduction materials at no cost to the residents.
Approximate boundaries for QuieterHome are Camp McDonald Road to the south, Dundee Road on the north and Wolf Road to the west. Abbott said jet noise typically doesn't affect areas along Milwaukee Avenue on the east due to runway configurations.
Wheeling resident Steve Schwartz, who lives near Milwaukee and Dundee, said he was disappointed to see his neighborhood of about 250 townhouses is just outside the QuieterHome boundary.
"I may not be in the contour of the runway, but I am in the pathway of flight, and so thereby affected by the sound," Schwartz said.
The Chicago Executive board decided to pursue the sound insulation program in 2017 over other possible measures to help residents.
Wheeling Trustee Ray Lang, who doubles as a Chicago Executive board director, said QuieterHome is a step in the right direction to help those affected by jet noise.
"It's something strong that we put together to help in the best way we can," Lang said. "We can't control flight, and so in this particular situation, we can help people with noise issues and so on in their own home."