12th Ward representative Samie Martinez, left, speaks about the MAT Asphalt project at the Wednesday, April 4, meeting of the McKinley Park Civic Association.

Civic Assocation Meeting Focuses on Asphalt Plant

Published April 5, 2018

A standing-room-only crowd filled the McKinley Park Civic Association meeting on Wednesday, April 4, with most of the meeting focused on the new MAT Asphalt plant preparing to open for business at 4010 S. Damen Ave., Chicago. 

Representatives from the 12th Ward office included Samie Martinez, who spoke about the asphalt plant project and fielded questions from the audience, gathered in the meeting room at the McKinley Park branch of the Chicago Public Library.

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A number of community members voiced their concerns about both pollution and the process of community notification for large projects coming to the neighborhood. Neighbors commented on their worries about adverse effects to health and property values, and also noted financial donations coming from businesses related to MAT Asphalt to benefit the political campaigns of 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas.

In addition to fielding points from the audience, Martinez argued that the plant is a net gain for the neighborhood. He noted the project's extensive environmental compliance requirements, the overall safety of the project and the benefits it brings, including jobs. He also said that all related truck traffic will occur east of the plant on Pershing Road, and asphalt trucks will not be allowed to use Damen Avenue to cut through the neighborhood.

Representatives from the 12th Ward spoke of an upcoming community meeting about the asphalt plant, likely to include the 12th Ward Independent Political Organization (IPO), that will take place soon, but is yet to be scheduled. The IPO's originally planned meeting for April 12 has been put off due to issues with venue availability and coordination for an overall meeting.

12th Ward representatives discussed the idea of an asphalt plant tour, possibly conducted as a group, as a way for interested residents to learn more about the project. Anyone interested in a plant tour should contact the 12th Ward office.

In addition to the issue of the asphalt plant, the civic association meeting also touched on planning for the upcoming Memorial Day Parade on May 28 and the Local School Council elections for Chicago Public Schools taking place on April 18.

The next McKinley Park Civic Assocation Meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at the library.

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