Mayor Lori Lightfoot late Thursday called off a planned demolition of a building at the former Crawford Power Plant after protests erupted and the alderman objected.
Lightfoot announced the delay as Little Village residents protested outside her Logan Square home, angry that another demolition was scheduled at the coal plant just weeks after the demolition of the smokestack at the former plant sent a plume of dust over six blocks of homes.
Lightfoot said city officials gave Heneghan Wrecking Co. permission to demolish the former turbine building at the power plant because inspectors determined “the small building poses a public safety hazard because the building is structurally unsound and must be dismantled.”
But Lightfoot acknowledged the widespread opposition to the plan, which Ald. Mike Rodriquez (22nd Ward) said should not go forward “because of COVID-19 and air-quality concerns.”
Lightfoot said city officials would “continue to engage with the local community.”
“The mayor’s listening, and that’s a good thing,” Rodriguez said.
However, Rodriguez said Friday any demolition should be postponed until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I thought everything was stopped indefinitely, as it should be,” Rodriguez said, adding that he was “angry” when he learned Thursday afternoon the demolition would begin Friday morning.
Hilco Redevelopment Partners is working to demolish the former power plant to build a warehouse.
Lightfoot laid the blame for the botched smokestack demolition on April 11 directly on Hilco and its general contractors, MCM Management Corp. and Controlled Demolition.
Members of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization said residents had received no notice of the planned demolition.
“The words that it takes to describe how completely inhumane and inconsiderate it is to permit a demolition whose smoke and debris will undoubtedly impact our community in horrific ways during the height of a global pandemic is absolutely heartbreaking,” the group tweeted.