The new MAT Asphalt plant rests a block south of Pershing Road at southbound Damen Avenue.

Asphalt Plant to Begin Production This Spring in Central Manufacturing District

Published March 29, 2018

MAT Asphalt LLC is set to begin large-scale production of asphalt this spring with a new facility in the Central Manufacturing District at 4010 S. Damen Ave., Chicago. The business, sited off the southern border of the McKinley Park neighborhood a block south of the intersection of Pershing Road and southbound Damen Avenue, is permitted to produce up to 890,000 tons of asphalt per year, according to a construction permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The move of the plant into the neighborhood has received the support of 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, who noted both that this is a permitted use for this designated manufacturing area and that environmental concerns are mitigated through full compliance with clean air laws and the use of new equipment employing the latest, cleanest technologies.

Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

"This new, 21st century asphalt plant will save taxpayers millions of dollars a year, produce more environmentally friendly paving for Chicago's streets and bring hundreds of jobs to the community," said Cardenas, who chairs the Chicago City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.

The build-out of the MAT Asphalt site includes new equipment from the Gencor company's Ultraplant line, which meets or exceeds the latest air quality standards of the EPA, Cardenas said, and "is the most fuel efficient, environmentally clean and lowest maintenance design available to the industry."

Site equipment includes a 400 tons-per-hour asphalt drum mixer, three 35,000 gallon asphaltic cement storage tanks, five 300 ton loadout silos, a crusher, multiple conveyors and screens, and bins for aggregate and reclaimed asphalt paving and shingles.

The construction permit from the Illinois EPA comprehensively details the site's environmental compliance requirements and limits, including caps on pollutants like particulate matter, gas emissions and dust kicked up by silo filling, material crushing, truck load-out and vehicle traffic. For example, the permit limits particulate matter from the drum mixer to 34.03 tons per year and small particulate matter (smaller than 10 microns) to 10.21 tons per year.

The permit also mandates standards for everything from visible opacity of emissions to smell to scheduling of maintenance, inspection and testing of plant equipment. Click the following link to download the Illinois EPA construction permit letter:

pdfIllinois-EPA_Construction-Permit_MAT-Asphalt_20171026.pdf221.02 KB

No rezoning of the site was necessary for the asphalt plant, as intensive petroleum manufacturing is an expressly permitted use for properties inside Subarea A of Planned Manufacturing District No. 8 (the "Stockyards"), as noted in a 2017 support letter to city Zoning Administrator Patricia Scudiero from the law offices of Daley and Georges, Ltd.

An adjacent, undeveloped parcel on the south edge of Pershing Road had to have its zoning changed from residential, as the proximity of homes within a couple hundred feet would conflict with MAT Asphalt's use of the site, the letter said. With Cardenas' support, the property was rezoned to a C1-3 neighborhood commercial district in March 2017.

MAT Asphalt is headed up by Michael Tadin Jr., the scion of Chicago trucking and development magnate Michael Tadin. Michael Tadin Jr. runs MAT Asphalt and a number of other businesses from his company headquarters at 4450 S. Morgan St. in the Stockyards district. Neither Tadin nor a representative from MAT Asphalt was available for comment as of publication of this article.

Cardenas noted that job-intensive manufacturing in the Central Manufacturing District has been a priority of neighborhood and planning groups, including the McKinley Park Development Council's call for this in its neighborhood development plan proposal being implemented in conjunction with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). The development council has not issued any public statements specifically regarding the MAT Asphalt plant project.

MAT Asphalt plant picture at distance 20180329 forwebThe MAT Asphalt site is visible between buildings of the Central Manufacturing District when looking south between the split of northbound and southbound Damen Avenue.

In my opinion it's a disappointing development in many ways. As “clean” as the plant may be compared to other asphalt operations, with that capacity it will absolutely produce pollutants and negatively impact the park. I also imagine having this as a neighbor will be counter productive to redeveloping the U.S. army depots, which seemed like a promising way to produce a whole lot more jobs for the neighborhood than this operation would.
I can't believe more Mckinley Park Residents are not pissed off about this. It is already and eye sore and they are not even up and running yet. Using phrases like "environmentally friendly" makes it seem as if the plant will be enhancing our air quality when quite the opposite will be true. The polloution from the production at the plant is only half of the problem. The dramatic increase in diesel semi truck traffic needed to deliver the hot petroleum product will have also be a source of significant air pollution. I Planning to wear a respirator when outside my home after they are up and running.

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