THREATENED: Asphalt Plant’s Toxic Pollution Blocks Affordable Housing Adaptive Reuse of Key Central Manufacturing District Building (Chicago 7 2014 & 2020)

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Central Manufacturing District (CMD), Pershing Road. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Central Manufacturing District (CMD), Pershing Road. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Central Manufacturing District (CMD), Pershing Road. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Neighbors for Environmental Justice Tweet Protesting the MAT Asphalt plant adjacent to Central Manufacturing District (CMD), Pershing Road. Neighbors for Environmental Justice is a grassroots 501(c)3 organization located in southwest Chicago that advocates for the environment and health of our region. Photo Credit: Twitter

“Chicago planning officials are exploring whether a McKinley Park asphalt plant owned by a politically connected businessman can be moved to another location following two years of numerous complaints from neighbors.

“In a letter to developers of a proposed affordable housing project near MAT Asphalt on Pershing Road, Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said that the city’s Department of Planning and Development ‘is investigating alternative locations” for the business ‘that are more appropriately located’ and away from schools, homes and the community’s namesake park.

The letter was sent after Novara recently rejected a request to fund the housing project that would create 120 affordable apartments in one of the historic buildings constructed over a century ago for the Central Manufacturing District on Pershing Road. Novara cited the planned apartments’ proximity to the asphalt plant as a reason to reject funding needed for the redevelopment.

In her letter, sent via email Friday, she said the asphalt plant is close to two schools and the park, which is across Pershing Road from MAT.” (Chase, 8/28/20)

“Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is denying funding for an affordable housing project in McKinley Park, citing the proximity of an asphalt plant that neighbors have been trying to shut down for two years.

“Developers say they worked with the city for roughly the same period of time on a proposed $40 million plan to convert a building in the historic Central Manufacturing District on Pershing Road to 120 affordable apartments.

“Developers received an email in July from the city’s Department of Housing stating it “has outstanding concerns about the location of the development in relation to the asphalt plant.” Chicago Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara told developers in a Zoom call last week she would not help fund the almost $8 million of the project.

“The housing project, which developers hoped would begin construction this fall, was to be the first of two phases of redevelopment. Another building is being considered for a commercial and office space, adding another boost for Latino-majority McKinley Park, Roldan said.

“‘To the extent this asphalt plant becomes the impediment for future investment, it’s going to doom the community,’ said Roldan. ‘It’s a slap in the face of the Latino community.’

“Residents have raised numerous concerns about MAT Asphalt, built across from the community’s namesake park, but many of those same neighbors support the housing project and now are doubly upset.”

“‘Not only is MAT Asphalt harming our quality of life and our park, but now it’s obvious they are sabotaging the type of investment our neighborhood deserves,’ said Robert Beedle, a member of Neighbors for Environmental Justice. ‘It’s frustrating to keep hearing about Chicago’s commitment to investing in neighborhoods like ours, but when it comes down to it none of these plans or promises materialize.’

“In an email sent to Beedle and other residents, a Novara staffer said the commissioner was requesting the city “research more appropriate possible locations for the [asphalt] plant.” That research is underway, Lightfoot spokeswoman Eugenia Orr said.”

“The Lightfoot administration “continues to explore other options to create much needed affordable housing in McKinley Park as well as looking into other ways in which city funds could make such a project viable” at the Pershing Road location, Orr said.”

“Tom Brantley said the developers also hoped to get historic preservation tax credits. The Central Manufacturing District, built near the Union Stock Yards around the turn of the 20th Century, was the country’s first industrial park. The buildings targeted for development have been vacant for years as past redevelopment efforts failed” (Chase, 8/28/20)

Read the full story at The Chicago Sun-Times

City rejects affordable housing funding for McKinley Park, citing nearby asphalt plant; Developers sought almost $8 million from city housing department for redevelopment of historic Central Manufacturing District, Brett Chase, 8/28/20

City explores moving controversial McKinley Park asphalt plant; Residents have been complaining about the operation for years, but owner Michael Tadin Jr. says he hasn’t discussed a move with Chicago officials, Brett Chase, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/28/20

The Hedges Are Gone, But Protesters Now Want Wealthy Lakeview Homeowner To Close His Southwest Side Asphalt Plant; Michael Tadin Jr. co-owns the controversial MAT Asphalt plant in McKinley Park. When it opened in 2018, bringing noise and pollution to the area, neighbors had no advanced notice it was coming, Colin Boyle and Justin Laurence, Block Club Chicago, 7/2/20

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