On Feb. 21, the Zoning Board of Appeals Committee held a public hearing meeting at City Hall for the approval of the $30 million Pure Metal Recycling facility. It is to be built on 15 acres of land on Cermak Road and Loomis Street, 2201 S. Loomis, by the South Branch of the Chicago River, in front of Benito Juarez Community Academy.
Both individuals and organizations that are in favor of and against the facility were in attendance. Those in favor of it stated that Pilsen can be a place where residents can both live and work, and that Pilsen needs jobs. Those against the shredder stated that the facility is a potential environmental hazard and will increase noise and traffic near the site.
According to reports, Ald. Solis (25th Ward) submitted a letter of support for the metal recycling facility. The organizations against the shredder have stated that Solis is in close ties with ACME refining and SMS, since they have paid for his political campaigns, and is now backing up Pure Metal.
After more than four hours of testimony from both proponents and opponents, the committee unanimously approved a special permit use for Pure Metal Recycling.
“We believe that we were very convincing, that the community wants the plant to be located there. What a better way to have a cleaner community than to bring a recycling company that is like this one, state of the art, totally enclosed. Mighty jobs are [needed in community],” emphasized Emma Lozano, president of Centro Sin Fronteras.
“These jobs will pay a good, living wage. They will be full-time, pay $12-26 an hour, depending on what job the person gets, what kind of skill set the person has once they start. So, we don’t want to lose [them],” added Sarita Walker, member of Centro Sin Fronteras.
“[It just seemed that the opposing organizations were] panic peddling literature. [They] did not have the substantial evidence or information to back up those big claims with,” added Walker.
“It is a shame they don’t see the environmental health risk, because, yeah, it is going to create jobs in the neighborhood. But at what cost? At people’s health? Especially the children that are literally across the street from this place at Juarez High School,” said Vicky Lugo, Pilsen Alliance board member.
“[We are] going to keep fighting this war, because I think it is a war. We are going to keep fighting with it, going to keep doing what is right for ourselves and the future of Pilsen,” said Lugo.
This post is also available in: Spanish