Debate about a proposed metal recycling facility in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood got heated Thursday morning when activists arguing for and against the new project squared off outside of Ald. Danny Solis’ (25th) office.
The $30 million metal shredding facility, run by Pure Metal Recycling, is proposed for 15 acres of land near Cermak Road and Loomis Street near the South Branch of the Chicago River. It would be on the same block as Benito Juarez Academy, 1510 W. Cermak Rd., and a few blocks from another metal shredding facility, Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St.
Supporters of the project say it would bring much-needed jobs to the area and is slated to be an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art facility.
But environmental activists claim the new facility would be at a high risk for fires and explosions and bring increased air and water pollution, soil contamination, truck traffic and noise pollution to the neighborhood.
“They’re saying they’re going to be totally unlike any other facility, and totally brand new and clean, but its like playing Russian Roulette by putting it next to a school,” said Jerry Mead-Lucero of the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO). “Maybe they’ll pull off this miracle and it’ll be unlike any other recycling facility. But if they don’t, it’s going to be awfully bad for the community. They’re taking too big of a risk.”