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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Little Village Neighbors Demand City Stop Crawford Redevelopment Plan

The project would bring more diesel trucks to the neighborhood, impacting residents' health, environmental leaders say.

Little Village community members and organizations urge city officials to halt the proposed plan that will bring a one million square-foot warehouse to the old Crawford Plant in Little Village.
Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
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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.

Credit: Hilco Redevelopment Partners
A Northbrook-based developer will reveal plans for the former Crawford Power Plant site at meetings this week.

RELATED: Semi-Trucks Are Taking Over Little Village, Neighbors Say — And Giant Warehouse Plan Will Make It Worse

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.