West Suburban Brownfield Assessment Update

Laura Oakleaf

Cook County Department of Environmental Control staff and consultants met with the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce in May to report progress on the West Suburban Brownfield Assessment Project, a consortium of seven communities,  and to get input on potential target sites for the project.  Also present were representatives of business associations in Maywood, Franklin Park, Schiller Park and Melrose Park. Northlake and Forest Park are also part of the project consortium.

The goal of the project is to identify brownfields --land which is, or may be perceived to be, contaminated and whose condition is a barrier to redevelopment.  The goal is to put the sites on the road to providing jobs, open space, storm-water retention or other community benefits.  The project uses federal funds from a $600,000 grant to the department from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify sites, assess their condition and, for select sites, to develop a Remedial Action Plan.  Removing uncertainty about what contaminants may be on a site, and identifying the clean up costs, is often all it takes to attract a developer and private financing.  These services are provided free to property owners and municipalities in the consortium communities through the grant.

To date, 27 candidate sites have been identified, some from each of the consortium communities. They range from small former corner gas stations, lots next to former dry cleaners, and a former school, to multi-acre abandoned industrial facilities or rail yards.

The Department is actively seeking suggestions for additional sites in the consortium communities.  Anyone can suggest a site: businesses, community groups, municipal officials, residents or other stakeholders from the seven Consortium communities. For more information on the department’s brownfield program, visit:  http://www.cookcountyil.gov/environment Watch that page for information on our next public meeting in Maywood, date TBD.

To suggest a site, please fill out and submit this form

Also please HOLD THE DATE of September 15 for a no-cost conference  “Green Your Brownfield: Sustainable Remediation and Redevelopment Options for Brownfields,” held at the Brookfield Zoo.  More information to follow.