Mayor touts power plant possibilities
09/26/2012 4:00 PM
Chicago’s last two coal-fired power plants are in the process of shutting down, and as the plants’ owners are busy trying to sell the sites, Mayor Rahm Emanuel last weekend chimed in to give the project a boost.
During a press conference at the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, Emanuel touted the plant’s possibilities, and added a few more clues about what might take over the Fisk plant in Pilsen and the Crawford plant further west.
An initial group of 40 inquiries about the sites has been winnowed down to 25 relatively serious contenders, he said, noting that the sites are extremely well positioned for success, not just because of their obviously strong access to the electrical grid, transportation and the Chicago River, but because they also have good access to high-speed Internet.
“These can be a national example of brownfield (former industrial site) development,” the mayor said. “These are great properties with great assets.”
As the plants are prepared for shutdown, a task force put together by the mayor has discussed what the best site uses would be. One of the most consistent ideas that popped up was some kind of park along the Chicago River.
Emanuel repeated his interest in that at the press conference.
“I think if anybody looks at it — of the 25 different developers — they’re going to see the property next to the water, and think that that water could be a different type of access for the residents,” Emanuel said. That’s the natural way to look at it, but I don’t want to prejudge that.”
When asked how if he would try to convince the new owners to give a chunk of their riverfront land to the city, Emanuel grinned and gave a snappy retort.
“Is there anything subtle about me?” he said.