Building a park on contaminated soil?

March 31, 2008

By Amy Lee, ACE Intern

Over in Illinois, Mayor Daley thinks that Chicago should be a green city, with two acres of open space for every 1,000 residents. The reality is that many lower-income communities lack basics such as trees and grass and don’t have the amount of land to realize that goal. In the neighborhood of Little Village, coal burning power plants have polluted the air for years. Many city officials have agreed that the area should be greener but even securing a neighborhood park has dragged on for almost a decade.

The soil in the proposed location contains potentially cancer-causing chemicals deposited from years of pollution. The city wants to build a park on top of the contaminated site. For the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, this isn’t good enough: The land should be cleaned up first. Read the Chicago Public Radio audio transcript for an interview with residents about this EJ issue.