DOWNTOWN — A group of Little Village neighbors demanded the city block plans for a giant warehouse to be built at the old Crawford Power Plant site ahead of a Plan Commission meeting to consider the project Thursday.
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Executive Director Kim Wasserman said the proposed logistics facility would undermine “the life saving improvements” made by the community who fought for years to shut down the Crawford facility. The organization was joined at City Hall by members of the Sierra Club, Southeast Environmental Task Force and the Respiratory Health Association.
Wasserman said the new facility would bring an influx of diesel trucks to a community already overburdened by diesel pollution, compromising the health of Little Village residents.
At the press conference, one man held a sign that read: “Hilco, we don’t need your white savior complex.”
Last month, Hilco Development Partners unveiled plans to create a 1-million-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at the former Crawford Generating Station site.
The $100 million project, called Exchange 55, is expected to be used as a distribution site for e-commerce and logistics companies, Hilco CEO Roberto Perez told Little Village residents during the meetings.
The proposed plan drew sharp criticism from residents, who raised concerns about the health implications of more diesel trucks in the dense neighborhood.
During Thursday’s press conference, Wasserman pointed to four additional warehouses and logistics facilities, including Banner Wholesale Grocers site and Venture One logistics warehouse, coming to the area. She said outgoing Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) is “selling out” Little Village to pollution.
“We are literally being inundated by warehouses all across the Southwest Side,” Wasserman said.
Meleah Geerstma, attorney and Midwest director of Health Equity and Water for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the proposed replacement of coal plant pollution with a warehouse that will bring [more] diesel trucks to the neighborhood is “the wrong thing to do for the health of this community.”
“There is a long and dirty list of industries around Little Village, the city should be looking for ways to alleviate those burdens, not to create new ones,” Geerstma said.