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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Toxic Little Village Site Gets $200,000 Cleanup Grant To Help Make Way For Huge Community Wellness Center

The EPA’s Brownfields Program offers grants to clean up and reuse land contaminated with hazardous substances or pollutants.

Chicago Southwest Development Corporation receives EPA grant to clean up toxic site in Little Village.
[Focal Point Chicago/Facebook]
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LITTLE VILLAGE — The federal government is providing a $200,000 grant to clean up a toxic site that will make way for a community wellness complex in Little Village.

The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the grant to Chicago Southwest Development Corporation.  The developer plans to build an expansive campus that will include Saint Anthony Hospital at 3250 South Kedzie Avenue.

The project dubbed Focal Point Community Campus will provide wellness, education, arts and recreational services on the 1 million-square-foot complex aimed to serve the North Lawndale, Little Village, Pilsen, Brighton Park, Back of the Yards and Archer Heights neighborhoods.

Last year, the City of Chicago’s Community Development Commission approved a measure to sell the land to the developer of the project for $1, according to Curbed.

Renderings for the $589 million project were first introduced to the public in 2012.

The EPA’s Brownfields Program offers grants to clean up and reuse land contaminated with hazardous substances or pollutants.

According to the EPA, the Little Village brownfield site – which sits in the industrial corridor – previously housed various chemical and manufacturing companies and is contaminated with volatile organic compounds.

No timeline for the cleanup was provided.

This isn’t the first time Little Village, which is situated along the industrial corridor, has been a recipient of federal funds to clean up toxic land contaminated by industrial facilities.

The property along 2800 S. Sacramento Ave., formerly owned by an asphalt company Celotex, was part of a federal Superfund environmental cleanup completed in 2009.

After the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency began site inspections in 1989, the agency identified cancer-linked chemicals, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, in the soil as well as on surface soil in surrounding residential properties at the old Celotex site.

The property was acquired by the Chicago Park District and has since been converted to La Villita Park.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said federal funding would help Little Village remove “hazardous substances that have burdened this community for far too long.”

“We’ve seen the negative impacts of toxins in Little Village and surrounding neighborhoods, including poor air quality and high asthma rates, which is why I will continue doing all that I can to help affected areas like this recover,” Duckworth added.

The EPA and Chicago Southwest Development Corporation did not respond to requests for comments.