Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sun-Times: Mayoral-backed $285 million rail yard project temporarily derailed

I'm sure the Englewood neighborhood is celebrating this stoppage. It's likely temporary, but hopefully more concessions will be made from either the railroad or the city so that this project could in fact benefit Englewood. This was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday:
The Chicago Plan Commission derailed for at least a month a vote on expanding a pair of tax-increment-financing districts needed to allow Norfolk Southern Railroad to proceed with a $285 million expansion of the railroad’s intermodal yard in Englewood.

Englewood residents and their environmental champions are demanding more concessions from Norfolk Southern armed with a new study that concludes the project would make the pollution problem worse in a neighborhood that has long suffered from high rates of asthma.

They’re also demanding a firmer commitment that residents of a neighborhood with 50 percent unemployment will benefit from the 400 jobs the $285 million project is expected to create.

On Thursday, Plan Commission members appointed by the mayor sided with local residents.

Although railroad officials disputed the methodology used by the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Plan Commission member Bishop John R. Bryant was not convinced.

“What I have heard is a history — and it’s hard to ignore a history. All across the country, these entities are always placed in poor communities that do not have the financial or political oomph to stop them. They’re never taken to communities of strength and economic and political clout,” Bryant said.

“I’m extremely disturbed…An entire community feels that their questions have not been answered in detail….I really want to [delay the vote] for one month to have some dialogue…to give some specific answers that will give a degree of comfort.”
Via Curbed Chicago!

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