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Little Village
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Oct 3, 2014

Chicagoans Rally Against Speed, Red-Light Cameras (VIDEO)

Chanting "tax Lasalle Street, not our street," a few dozen Chicagoans rallied near a speed camera in McKinley Park Thursday evening to protest what they say is an overuse of photo enforcement in the city.

"Red-light cameras and speed cameras are basically a fraud on motorists and on the citizens of Chicago,"Mark Wallace, director of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, said at the protest along Archer Avenue near a newly-installed speed camera. There is also a red-light camera at the corner of Archer and Ashland avenues, about a block from the new speed camera.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jul 31, 2013

Disability Rights Advocates Continue Call For Equal Access To Southwest Side CTA Bus Route (VIDEO)

Despite a renovated bus stop at the corner of 31st Street and Spaulding Avenue, activists are saying people with disabilities are still denied equal access to public transportation and full equality in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side.

“This is a great win, but there is still a lot of work left to be done,” said Adam Ballard, an organizer for the disability advocacy group Access Living.

The newly-renovated bus station received fresh cement and sidewalk ramps in June, thanks to Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd), who dedicated $230,000 from his ward’s menu money, which is a pot of discretionary funds designed for infrastructure projects.

Ballard, whose mobility is limited to a wheelchair because he was born with arthrogryposis, joined activists and community residents on Wednesday morning to celebrate what participants called a “partial victory.”

“This is just the beginning, and now we have to continue to push for the rest of the area to get renovated,” he said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jun 6, 2013

TIF Program Angers Bridgeport, McKinley Park Residents

Residents of Chicago's 11th Ward were outraged upon learning that $57.4 million in property tax money was sitting in their tax increment financing (TIF) districts' collective bank accounts at the end of 2011, according to data unveiled by the CivicLab.

One resident suggested at least one way that money could have been put to use at the CivicLab's TIF Illumination Project meeting Wednesday night.

Maureen Sullivan with Bridgeport Alliance said she has been pushing the city to renovate the Ramova Theater at 35th and Halsted streets for years, to no avail.

The city currently owns the property, which has been closed since 1986, Sullivan said.

“It could be a thousand-seat performance space and the largest economic generator on Halsted Street, and it's sitting there empty," Sullivan said in remarks after the meeting, held at the McKinley Park library. "And I'm so angry, because when I talk to the city, they dangle (TIF) in front of you, like 'we may be able to get you some TIF funds for this.'”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Mar 20, 2013

EPA Makes Commitment To Clean Up Pollution In Pilsen, Little Village (VIDEO)

There are considerable problems with air and land pollution in Chicago’s Southwest neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village and, at a meeting with community residents last night, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to ongoing cleanup efforts.

Approximately 50 residents at Walsh Elementary School listened Tuesday night as the EPA presented the community with four plans for pollution reduction in their neighborhood.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Sep 26, 2012

Buyer, Clean-Up Plans Still Unknown For Chicago Coal Plant Sites

A mayoral task force released a report Saturday with broad guidelines for how to redevelop the site of two Chicago coal-fired power plants on the Southwest Side that shut down in August. A main recommendation was that the sites be used to create local jobs in non-polluting industries.

Community advocates who live in the Pilsen neighborhood, the site of the closed Fisk plant, and Little Village, home of the shuttered Crawford plant, credit Mayor Rahm Emanuel not just for working with Midwest Generation company to shut down the plants, but also for using a task force to spark community dialogue.

“Usually task forces are where something goes to be forgotten,” says Nelson Soza, executive director of Pilsen Alliance and a member of the task force. “But this task force raised the profile of these sites.”

However, the panel did not weigh in on a central concern of community residents: who will take on remediation, i.e. the process of cleaning up the industrial site. The report reads that, “The issue of remediation was discussed by the Task Force, but the Task Force was unable to reach consensus on a recommendation for further action.”

PI Original
by Matthew Blake
Fri Jun 29, 2012

After Hearings, No Plans In Sight For Clean Up Or Reuse Of Coal Plant Sites

With an eye toward the potential shut down of all of its Illinois coal-fired power plants and a possible bankruptcy filing, the February agreement Midwest Generation made with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to close two coal plants on the Southwest Side increasingly looks like a good deal for the company, and not the ideal outcome for residents who live near the facilities.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Jun 27, 2012

Community Members Discuss Future Of Fisk Coal Plant Site With Midwest Generation

Audience members offered a range of ideas at a city hearing last night about what to do with the site currently occupied by the 108 year-old Fisk coal-fired power plant in the Pilsen neighborhood, which closes this September. Some of the ideas included a park, funeral home, public market, trade school, and even a high school sports complex.

But all these visions will be stymied if the Midwest Generation company cannot find a buyer willing to not just build something new but also clean up, or remediate, the site.

“There is a huge marketing job ahead of us,” acknowledged Jean Pogge, CEO of the Delta Institute, the Chicago non-profit in charge of a task force Mayor Rahm Emanuel created to determine the site’s future.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Jun 25, 2012

Clean Up Plan For Chicago Coal Sites Unclear

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office will hold two community hearings this week regarding the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plant sites on Chicago’s South Side. Midwest Generation is scheduled to close the plants in September. Community excitement that the aging plants are shutting down has partly given way to fears that the city and Midwest Generation will never clean up or “remediate” the sites.

“Nobody wants to deal with the remediation process,” claims Rafeal Hurtado, an organizer at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), a group that advocated shutting down the Crawford plant.