Mayor Lightfoot delays demolition at coal plant amid concerns

Chicago’s mayor halted a demolition planned at a coal plant amid concern that another dust cloud could cover parts of a neighborhood as it did after an implosion at the site in April.

Community leaders protested outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Logan Square home on Thursday following an announcement that the city would authorize demolition of a structure at the plant because “the building is structurally unsound and must be dismantled.”

“The health and safety of Chicago’s residents remains the top priority of this Administration, and today I have heard the concerns of community members regarding the demolition of a small building on the former Crawford Generating Station site,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Aldermen George Cardenas and. Mike Rodriguez, who represent parts of the Little Village neighborhood, said they did not support a demolition. Pilsen Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez joined protesters in criticizing Lightfoot’s plan.

The demolition in April put all residents’ health at risk, Cardenas said in a statement imploring Lightfoot’s administration not to go through with the demolition. “I cannot stress this enough: We are fighting a respiratory pandemic. Our most vulnerable residents live in Little Village.”

Lightfoot said she is delaying the demolition to discuss the “structurally dangerous condition of that small building” with the community.

Earlier this month, the Illinois attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Hilco Redevelopment Partners and its general contractors, MCM Management and Controlled Demolition Inc. for the release of contaminants during last month’s demolition.

Hilco acknowledged not following a dust mitigation plan it gave the city. The company was fined $68,000.