Tadin to Pave Damen; Local Group Announces Air Quality Monitoring

Published May 18, 2018

Thanks to his low bids on City of Chicago street repaving projects, MAT Asphalt co-owner Michael Tadin Jr. announced pending work to pave McKinley Park's South Damen Avenue and other South Side streets with local asphalt installed by sister company MAT Construction. Tadin said his new asphalt plant in the Central Manufacturing District was a key element allowing him to bring in a competitive bid, upending the local asphalt market and saving money for Chicago taxpayers.

Damen will be repaved from South 33rd Street to Pershing Road, part of two district-focused arterial street contracts pending for MAT Construction. Tadin said he won the South Side bid by $700,000 and the North Side bid by hundreds of thousands of dollars, bringing in contract pricing around 12 percent to 14 percent below historical benchmarks. The asphalt will come from the MAT Asphalt plant, now in its calibration stages and set for an opening before the end of May, Tadin said.

McKinley Park South Purple Air Screenshot 20180518 forwebThe web page for the air quality monitor at 38th and Wood displays real-time local air quality information. It is available online at http://bit.ly/mckinleyparkair.As announced at the Wednesday, April 25, community meeting about the new asphalt plant, the new industrial business inspired a local resident to install a real-time air quality monitor at West 38th and South Wood streets, with live online data available at http://bit.ly/mckinleyparkair. McKinley Park neighborhood resident Billy Drew, who leads the 12th Ward Independent Political Organization (IPO) and the McKinley Park Progressive Alliance, said this effort is growing via a GoFundMe campaign to get additional air quality monitors installed throughout the neighborhood.

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This project, started by a nascent group called the Neighbors for Environmental Justice, also maintains a library of information about the MAT Asphalt plant at http://bit.ly/asphaltplant. As of the time of publication, the GoFundMe campaign had raised $630 of the $1,000 it is seeking to add two additional air quality sensors to the neighborhood. It can be found online at https://www.gofundme.com/mpairsensors.

Tadin noted the presence of an air quality monitor installed at the plant per regulation from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and his willingness to share and integrate this air quality data, adding a more accurate data point from inside the Central Manufacturing District. "I'd be willing to fund this," Tadin said.

Drew said this type of engagement should be expected, given the assurances of openness and transparency pledged by MAT Asphalt representatives at the April 25 meeting.

Tadin also spoke to the issues of asphalt truck traffic coming to and from the MAT Asphalt plant, and said that if residents saw a MAT truck on Damen Avenue, it is because it is properly delivering asphalt as part of the street repaving contract. He noted the $2,000 traffic ticket for any heavy trucks deviating from assigned truck routes, and said that all of his trucks employ GPS that will be monitored to ensure they follow assigned routes.

All customers will be notified that they must only drive on class two truck routes, Tadin said, adding that he'd be willing to take whatever steps were necessary to ensure customers' compliance, even fining them upon verification and donating any money raised back to the park. "I'm willing to go that far," he said.

Tadin said other elements related to mitigating the effects of asphalt truck traffic include full paving of the asphalt plant site to reduce dust, cleaning asphalt trucks with an on-site water truck, and, as also noted at the April 25 meeting, trucks transporting asphalt require an air-tight tarp in order to keep the asphalt hot on its way to a building site.

"We're here to be good neighbors," Tadin said. "We want to keep the area clean."

Tadin said that asphalt trucks will be active during Chicago's seven-month-long asphalt season, and no trucks will run after 2:30 p.m. daily. He estimated that 15 percent of truck traffic will be traveling to the west of the plant on Pershing Road, with the majority of truck traffic traveling east of the plant between it and Ashland Avenue.

The MAT Asphalt plant is part of Tadin's overall effort to improve the many vacant and unproductive properties on the Southwest Side, he said, including the massive Marina Crossings project south of the Central Manufacturing District, the largest industrial warehouse facility in the history of Chicago.

This project and MAT Asphalt dovetail off other businesses and development opportunities inside the 100 acres that Tadin owns inside Planned Manufacturing District No. 8 (aka the Stockyards District), including 38 acres of the Central Manufacturing District. The end result will be a high-quality jobs center for the Southwest Side, Tadin said.

Marina Crossings aerial view 201805 forwebThe Marina Crossings project under construction lies south of the intermodal shipping facilities and rail yard bordering the Central Manufacturing District and the MAT Asphalt site.

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