January 2005

Waste Management and environmental group announce plan to transform CID Landfill into ‘Gateway Park’
Former adversaries come together on model environmental and financial redevelopment plan

Chicago, IL— Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. and the New Calumet Study Committee announced that they have reached agreement on a model urban redevelopment project, providing a $20-million community benefit and establishing the manner in which the company will close the CID Landfill on Chicago’s Southeast Side and re-open it as a community park and recreation area.

Under terms of the agreement, the CID Landfill at 130th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway will close with significantly higher environmental standards than required by law. The company has also agreed to contribute environmentally significant land to the community, provide much-needed funds for neighborhood programs by sharing 50 percent of the profit from the redevelopment project and create up to 150 new jobs at a new recycling facility.

The New Calumet Study Group was founded by environmentalists who in the past opposed Waste Management’s operation of the landfill and plans to extend its life. The group approached Waste Management after learning of the company’s announced proposal to close the facility and transform it into a park after a five-year period. The study group developed an independent community-based proposal seeking additional assurances from the company, which has been adopted by Waste Management.

Key features of the Waste Management proposal and the Lake Calumet Study Group terms accepted by the company include:

•Redevelopment of the closed landfill into “Gateway Park,” a 200-acre park and recreational gateway to the city on the southeast side.
•Closure of the landfill for disposal use in five years.
•$16 million in cash generated by the facility over the five years during which the site would accept a mixture of soil and residential waste before being shaped into a recreational facility.
•Creation of the locally-based Calumet People and Environmental Foundation to distribute proceeds from the $16 million endowment for environmental, health, educational and other community programs.
•Donation of the 276-acre “Big Marsh” wetlands area to the community.
•Approximately $2 million in additional value related to the significantly higher environmental closure standards for cap and liner systems, as requested by the New Calumet Study Group.
•Approximately 150 new jobs for the community in the new CID recycling facility, which represents millions of dollars in wages and benefits for area residents.
•And the establishment of a new center at the site to promote the development of new environmental technologies.

Dr. James Landing, a UIC professor long active in environmental issues in the Calumet Region and co-founder of the New Calumet Study Group, said the redevelopment proposal is the right choice for the community.

“It’s likely that Waste Management could have kept the landfill open for several more years by challenging its right to expand on property it owns. This is by far the best outcome for the community, which stands to reap the huge benefits of this proposal for generations to come. With our agreement, we know that the landfill will close forever on a date certain in only five years. At a time when the city and state are strapped for cash, this project will provide hundreds of acres of new open lands and financial benefits for the community that would otherwise be lost,” said Landing.

Waste Management spokesperson Bill Plunkett further explained, “The Study Committee’s proposal creates a unique model for community and corporate cooperation. It reclaims the land for future generations, giving hundreds of acres to be incorporated into the Calumet Open Space Reserve back to the public. Additionally, it offers numerous environmental and financial benefits to the community, it does not expand the landfill’s areas but is contained to the site’s existing footprint, and it won’t cost Chicago a penny. In fact, we know of no other landfill redevelopment agreement in the country that offers such benefits over such a short time.”

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