Yesterday I returned home from the fourth 25th Ward aldermanic forum to find an email sent on the behalf of Roberto Perez, CEO of Hilco Redevelopment Partners. It appears that many community organizations have received this email and I expect the other candidates as well. They state:
We are in the very early stages of the process and intend to host multiple community meetings to obtain feedback in the near future as we continue to explore this opportunity.
I expect many organizations and the incoming alderman will participate.
Contrary to earlier reports by city officials, Hilco has not a made a “final determination” as to whether or not they will purchase the site. Confirming a report last week, Hilco is considering converting the property to a data center.
As I was quoted in the Chicago Tribune’s endorsement of my campaign,
A healthy economy is essential to the success of the ward and city.
That’s why I am tentatively supporting this usage of the property. My reasoning is this:
- There will not be significant diesel truck emissions like those expected at the Little Village-Crawford distribution facility. Air quality should not be degraded in the long-term.
- This will bring high quality jobs to the area. I expect that it will not be as many as some would hope, but it’s certain to be more than the zero jobs there today.
- They state that they will be remediating the much polluted land.
- They state that they are “evaluating how our plans can provide an opportunity to bolster a shared usable community space within Pilsen for the benefit of residents, organizations and families.“
While this is a good first step, we should recognize that words are easy and action is hard. But action is needed because this vacant, polluted property has done nothing for anyone in these last 7 years.
Additionally, Block Club Chicago reports that NRG will maintain the diesel peaker plants separate from the sale of Hilco. We as a community should, and I as a candidate I will continue to, urge NRG to act on PERRO’s suggestion that they convert their diesel peakers to a zero-emission large battery storage unit.