Governor halts construction at Brighton Park migrant site following environmental report

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

Construction has been halted on a temporary winter camp for migrants in Chicago Monday, to review removal of soil contaminants at the former industrial site.

A study from Chicago consultant Terracon released last week detailed the discovery and removal of sections of soil from the Brighton Park site that “contained higher-than-expected levels of mercury”.

Also on Monday, a motion to stop the city from building a tent shelter for migrants in Brighton Park was dismissed by a Cook County Judge David Atkins who also ordered the city to alert residents if construction resumes and said the motion could be reintroduced then.

“As reported last week, the City of Chicago’s Department of Assets, Information, and Services contracted Terracon Consultants, Inc. to conduct an environmental investigation at the 3710 South California Avenue site,” the Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a news release. “The sample results were compared to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s remediation standards for residential use.

“According to the report, soil with mercury levels was identified at one location and was removed and properly disposed offsite at a landfill, and with the limited soil removal and placement and maintenance of the barrier, the site is safe for temporary residential use.”

Further base camp construction and remediation of an additional 1 ft. x 1 ft. x 1 ft. area of the 9.5-acre site will continue per the timeline set by the State of Illinois. There is no construction or remediation scheduled at this time. The city will share assessment of subsequent remediation as it becomes available.

The full Environmental and Investigation and Correction Action Summary Report can be found in the general City of Chicago FAQ on the new arrival mission.

The state committed $65 million for the tent camp in Brighton Park and for permanent structures at a site in the Little Village neighborhood. Together, they would house 2,200 migrants.

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