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Ahead of the demolition of the General Iron crushing plant, safety must be considered

CHICAGO — In just a few days, five buildings at General Iron’s metal crushing plant along the Chicago River will be demolished.

“It should have been done years ago and it’s taking a long time for them to finally get around to it,” said Ernie Norman, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1970s.

SEE ALSO: Demolition of General Iron’s metal crushing plant in Lincoln Park will begin soon

He and other concerned neighbors heard the demolition plan during a meeting at De Paul University on Friday, hearing first-hand from the demolition company doing the work.

“We want this place gone just like everyone else,” said Kurt Berger of the Heneghan Wrecking Company. [The] commissioner, [the Chicago Department of Public Health]aldermen, this place has been a nightmare for this community for a long time.’

The biggest concern is making sure the job is completed safely.

In July 2020, a chimney explosion at Crawford Power Station left Little Village covered in dust. City buildings and health departments say that won’t happen with General Iron. Explosives are not used and there is a plan to reduce dust. Inspectors from both agencies will also be on site each day.

“I think they’re probably keeping it under control as much as possible,” Norman said.

The work is expected to take four to six weeks once it starts, although winter weather could delay the project.

“Today we’ve been successful, this is the final chapter in General Iron’s story, and now we can begin the conversation about the next chapter for this 18-acre parcel of land on the river,” Ald said. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward).

As for what that looks like, many neighbors say they want the property to become a public green space. General Iron still owns the land, and Hopkins estimates it will cost the city $200 million to buy and develop the property, although he says there is occasional interest from other buyers.


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