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$50M airfield cargo expansion first phase of grander plan

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Construction on the Rockford Airport cargo expansion has come right to the edge of Bell Bowl Prairie. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

The Rockford Airport Authority is not ceding Bell Bowl Prairie, an ancient prairie remnant that’s part of the airport’s nearly 3,000-acre property. In an interview with WTTW News, the authority reaffirmed its commitment to a $50 million expansion plan that would impact the five-acre prairie.

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Members of the coalition that sprung up to save Bell Bowl Prairie from demolition by the Rockford Airport are allowing themselves a brief victory lap to celebrate a temporary suspension of construction.

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Conservationists are in a race against the clock to save a five-acre patch of rare Illinois prairie from being bulldozed as part of a 280-acre expansion of the Chicago Rockford International Airport's cargo operation.