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Michael Mostow quoted in article “Redevelopment ahead for Chicago’s two coal plant sites”

Chicago Tribune

Following is an excerpt:

Before NRG took over the sites, a task force led by the Delta Institute spent five months in 2012 pulling together recommendations and guiding principles for redeveloping the site. The group included representatives from Midwest Generation, Commonwealth Edison, organized labor and the City of Chicago as well as community organizers, and two aldermen.

The task force conducted surveys and public hearings and sketched out nine guiding principles for redevelopment, among them, that whatever was built should provide living wage jobs and minimize pollution and waste.

The task force also sketched out what they didn't want: big box retailers because they might threaten the viability of small neighborhood businesses.

Ideas for redevelopment ranged from light manufacturing to a sports center.

Residents also suggested converting an abandoned rail line into a trail, and they wanted access to the river.

"These are complicated sites," said Jean Pogge, chief executive of Delta Institute. "There's probably arsenic, there's probably lead in the soil."

Not all of the combined 115 acres of the sites can be redeveloped. About 40 to 50 percent of the land at Fisk and about 75 percent at Crawford can realistically be redeveloped. The sites contain ComEd switchyards,

transmission lines and other electrical equipment necessary for getting electric power to those neighborhoods, according to ComEd.

The Fisk site also houses gas-fired peaker plants that occasionally provide power to the electric grid when use is at its highest.

"If the value isn't there to begin with, there isn't a driver for redevelopment," said Michael Mostow, a partner at Quarles and Brady in Chicago who focuses on environmental law.