City Closes General Iron Due to
Explosions This Morning
Flooding Concerns
Taco Bell Cantina Community Meeting
Dear Neighbors,

As a result of two explosions this morning, the City of Chicago Department of Buildings has ordered the shut down of General Iron indefinitely. An investigation is underway by the Fire Department and Chicago Department of Public Health, and likely the federal or state Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the Illinois Department of the Environment and others. 

The explosions damaged critical facilities of General Iron – including a new piece of equipment recently installed to comply with the federal EPA consent decree entered in 2018.  Fortunately, no one was injured.

According to the briefing I just received from the Mayor’s Office, Fire Commissioner Ford, Buildings Commissioner Frydland, and CDPH Commissioner Arwady, the initial explosion occurred in the newly installed  RTO (Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer). The heat was so intense that it flowed back to the initial point of entry, triggering the safety “blow-out doors” of the filter building and damaging it significantly.  A building to the north was also damaged. 

According to the Fire Commissioner, ferrous metal from various sources are taken from the “claw dump” to the shredder, which then go to a filter building, which removes some contaminants from the air, and then to the newly installed RTO, which is supposed to burn off the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and convert them into steam. The RTO heats the materials to about 14,000 degrees.  

In addition to the Fire Department, the Chicago Department of Health and Department of Buildings responded to the scene. The Fire Departments hazmat unit conducted an initial test for VOCs and other pollutants which showed normal readings. However, there will be further tests.  We were not informed of any particulate matter testing, but the investigation continues.

As a result of this industrial accident, the Commissioner of Buildings has issued a Commissioner Closure of all the operations of General Iron, including all shredding operations and acceptance of materials for shredding. The order cannot be lifted until until a remediation and repair plan is approved and permits issued and work completed.

We were assured on the call that the plan to cease operations by December 31, 2020 is still in place and no requests have been made to extend the time. 

The incident this morning at General Iron is just another example of why Chicago deserves a commitment to the North Branch Park & Preserve    - the Chicago River belongs to all of us, not just private interests.  It is beyond time for this old, decaying facility to go, and to be replaced with a public park for all Chicagoans to enjoy the outdoors. In these times of pandemic, the need for public open space has been demonstrated more strongly than ever.

Block Club reported.
Is Your Basement Flooding?

Record rainfall has prompted the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to reverse the flow of the Chicago River into Lake Michigan in order to reduce flooding. While this is not good for the quality of our water, it protects homes and entire neighborhoods from flooding.

Wacker Drive and many other streets have also flooded. When water floods the streets in recent days, it helps keep water out of your basement. Please be patient as water recedes. WTTW has more.

Stay tuned for a survey coming soon.
Community Meeting - Taco Bell Cantina: 1948 W. Armitage
Thursday, May 21
6:00 p.m.

Join my office and Sheffield Neighborhood Association (SNA) at a virtual meeting to discuss a proposal by Taco Bell to operate a restaurant with an Incidental Consumption on the Premises Liquor License at 948 W. Armitage Ave.

The restaurant team will provide an overview of the concept and operations, and will answer questions from the audience regarding the proposed use. My office will be present at this meeting to monitor the discussion, take notes, and record your feedback.

Register using the link above.
Good News About Street Sweeping

The Department of Streets and Sanitation announced that signs are going to be posted for street sweeping schedule for the rest of season. You can view the May schedule here to see if your street is scheduled.

Please note residents will NOT get ticketed or towed for cars parked along cleaning routes. If you can move you car, please do so, or help neighbors who can't move their cars by raking the leaves underneath and pushing leaves into the street.

You can track street sweepers that are working in the community every day in real time  via the Sweeper Tracker tool.
Alcott Elementary Now Enrolling

If you live within the boundaries of Alcott Elementary School and plan on enrolling a new student for the 2020-2021 school year, enroll now - (virtually). Please click on this link f or enrollment information.

Alcott Elementary is a PreK-8 neighborhood school located at 2624 N. Orchard Ave.  To find out your neighborhood CPS school, click   here .
Virtual Meetings
Water Resilience in Good Times and Bad
Tuesday, May 19
3:30 p.m.

Metropolitan Planning Council is hosting an event series exploring water resilience, now and post COVID-19. Hosted by Elevate Energy and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

Registration is required, please use the link above. Event link will be included in your registration confirmation, please note you must be logged into your Eventbrite account to access link .
Digital Marketing 101
Tuesday, May 19

A free webinar to help you get the most from your marketing plan. Presented by Lianne Wiker Hedditch and Anneliese Peper of the Heron Agency, you'll learn the importance of an integrated marketing campaign for small businesses with an overview specific to social media. 

Visit the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce page for more details and register using the link above.
City Council Meeting
Wednesday, May 20
10:00 a.m.

The council will meet virtually this Wednesday at 10 a.m. sharp. For each City Council meeting, the Office of the City Clerk provides live streaming video, including captions, on the Council News Central page. To watch live click  here .
Find out how you can participate in public comment here .
Support our Neighborhood Restaurants

Many of the restaurants that add so much to our community are struggling during this crisis. Please patronize our neighborhood businesses as much as possible and try to order directly from the restaurant.

We will be featuring our neighborhood's restaurants that are open for business in upcoming newsletters. If you are open for business, let us know.
Be safe and Wear A Mask!


Coronavirus Resources :

If you have any additional questions, please email:  or call 312-746-4835

The Doctor Is In: Ask Dr. Arwady.  Live-stream by Chicago Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., daily at 11:00 am on Twitter  and   Facebook Live .

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Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
43rd Ward Office Hours: M - F 9 AM - 5 PM 
  2523 N Halsted  |  773-348-9500