Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. When City Hall deliberates over a project or enterprise that can profoundly affect a neighborhood, it needs to involve the people who live there.
Keep that in mind as you ponder developments regarding a scrap metal recycler in Lincoln Park and its fraught relationship with the 47,500 people who live within a mile of the scrap yard.
General Iron Industries shreds scrap metal — flattened cars, used appliances and more. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has had the company on its watch list of chronic polluters since the late 1990s. The EPA cited General Iron in July 2018 for failing to contain lung-damaging particulate matter within the company’s property, and accused the firm of failing to reduce emissions of harmful chemicals.
People who live near the General Iron site along the North Branch of the Chicago River know how bad the pollution can get. They can smell it, they can feel it. Neighbors complain about finding an oily film on their cars and sidewalks, and having to regularly wash metallic particles off their patios.