Mayor Lori Lightfoot short-circuited one of her predecessor’s last deals Wednesday, announcing an agreement that ensures a clout-heavy scrap shredder abandons its troubled North Side operation by the end of next year.
Members of the Labkon family, owners of General Iron Industries, already are trying to sell their 21.5 acres of real estate in a fast-gentrifying area along the North Branch of the Chicago River. But the Chicago Tribune reported in July that former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration had quietly given the family permission to continue operating their scrap yard between North Avenue and Cortland Street until 2022.
On their way out of City Hall, Emanuel aides awarded General Iron new permits that provided its owners another option if the sale fell through, angering neighbors who have complained for years about metallic pollution wafting into the Bucktown, Lincoln Park and Wicker Park neighborhoods.
The agreement hammered out by Lightfoot’s administration requires the Labkons to follow through on their pledges to leave the North Side in 2020.