The Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District will be spraying in a number of west suburban areas on Aug. 9 between 8 p.m. and midnight. Spraying is a way for the district to control the adult mosquito population during a time in which the district is seeing an increase in positive tests for West Nile Virus.
The Maywood Peace Garden received some special attention from Loyola medical students on Saturday. | Sebastian Hidalgo/VFP
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Olga Desio, a volunteer master gardener with the University of Illinois Extension program, stood in the middle of the Peace Garden at the corner of 17th Ave. and Madison St. on Saturday, surrounded by hardy native plants and engulfed in the scent of herbs—sage, oregano, lavender, thyme.
Seaway Supply Company owner Tom Engoren inside of his Maywood-based company on July 13. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with numerous other elected officials, were at Seaway to announce the results of a brownfield grant. | Michael Romain/VFP
Thursday, July 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Tom Engoren, the owner of Seaway Supply Co., located at 15 N. 9th Ave. in Maywood, said that a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allowed his business to stay, and possibly expand, in Maywood.
Seaway Supply, which deliveries janitorial products, office supplies and other materials throughout the Chicago area, is looking to acquire a gravel parcel adjacent its Maywood location that’s currently owned by the village.
The company wants to turn the parcel into a fenced-in parking lot and eventually use the land to possibly develop even more warehouse or office space in the future. Seaway has been located in Maywood for around six years, Engoren said.
But the village-owned land is located on a brownfield, which is “property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the
presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant,” according to the U.S. EPA.
The contamination is often petroleum-related. Examples of brownfield sites include “old gas stations, auto service businesses, factories, mill sites, shipyards, transit stations, and junkyards,” the EPA notes.
Typically, a business looking to build, expand or redevelop an area that’s suspected to be contaminated has to pay to conduct soil tests and, if those tests find that the area has been polluted or contaminated, then the business also has to pay for the necessary cleanup.
An official with Weaver Consultants Group, the firm that Cook County contracted with to provide environmental testing and remediation services, said that it can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to conduct phase one soil testing. Phase two cleanup efforts start at around $15,000 to $20,000.
The EPA grant — which was administered by the Cook County Department of Environmental Control in collaboration with the villages of Maywood, Bellwood, Melrose Park, Forest Park, Schiller Park, Northlake and Franklin Park — basically pays for those phase one and phase two costs. The county received the grant money in 2014.
“These tests, while they’re not terribly expensive, they’re not cheap,” said Engoren. “Even before you buy the [land], you have to invest money to just look at it and consider it. This program takes the guesswork out of the process for potential buyers.”
Engoren added that completing the environmental remediation process also clears a big hurdle for businesses trying to access the necessary credit to fund expansion and redevelopment efforts. As of press time, it wasn’t known how the land that Seaway is trying to acquire got contaminated. Seaway is located in an area zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses.
According to estimates by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, there are nearly 90 brownfield parcels located in western Cook County. And the Illinois State Fire Marshall has counted 684 petroleum-related Underground Storage Tank (UST) locations in the seven municipalities participating in the grant program.
The CNT estimates that there are 17 brownfield parcels in Maywood alone that cover nearly 50 acres, six brownfield parcels in Bellwood covering 17 acres and nine brownfield parcels in Melrose Park covering nearly 50 acres.
Maywood brownfield sites targeted by EPA grant
Bellwod and Melrose Park brownfield sites targeted by EPA grant
“This program is truly an economic development driver,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins during a July 13 press conference convened at Seaway Supply to mark the completion of the grant program.
“This program allowed Maywood to receive funding for environmental assessments that will lead to redevelopment of several vacant lots that had not hope for redevelopment.”
In all, the grant program identified and assessed 30 sites in the seven aforementioned coalition communities that cover 127 acres. Currently, more than 120 acres are in the process of redevelopment or are being planned for future reuse, according to a statement released by Cook County Board President on June 13.
“Brownfield sites are difficult to redevelop,” Preckwinkle said at the June 13 press conference. “By freeing up these sites for reinvestment, we not only protect the environment but we reduce eyesores for these communities.”
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and other elected officials inside of Seaway Supply Co. on June 13. | Michael Romain/VFP
In addition to Seaway Supply Company, other sites that were tested and/or cleaned up include the former Maywood Racetrack in Melrose Park, six parcels that sit on over five acres in Bellwood and several more parcels in Maywood that cover nearly four acres.
“I can think of no better place for this to happen than in the village of Maywood,” said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district includes Maywood and Bellwood.
“Maywood has had significant challenges relating to unemployment and businesses leaving … This is a shot in the arm for businesses that want to expand, want jobs and want to work here. It’s good for our tax base, it’s good for everybody.” VFP
DON’T MISS THIS!
Maywood firefighters water the 17th & Madison Peace Garden in Maywood on Saturday. | Photos provided
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews
On Saturday, June 3, volunteers worked to spruce up the 17th & Madison Peace Garden in Maywood. The garden, the brainchild of Maywood Youth Mentoring founder and executive director Barbara Cole, said that she and her MYM participants planted flowers, pulled weeds, picked up trash, spread soil and mulch and painted cinder blocks, among other green tasks.
“We had a very productive day,” Cole said in a statement. “Mother Nature cooperated with us up to 3 p.m. by not raining, but disappointed us by not producing thunderstorms after 3 p.m.!”
Fortunately, Cole said, the Maywood Fire Department provided water and filled out the garden’s water barrels. A sudden emergency, however, called them away from the garden before the barrels were filled.
“They returned Sunday morning to complete the task,” Cole said. “We just ask the community to pray for non-severe thunderstorms throughout the week so that our new plants don’t die from thirst. Otherwise, the public is welcome to stop by the garden and dip some water from the barrels to give to our thirsty plants!”
Cole said that Tim Lucas and Alex Sanchez from Home Depot donated and delivered supplies. Proviso Partners for Health donated compost bins, the University of Illinois Extension Master Garden Program provided expertise, garden supplies and volunteers and the Maywood Environmental and Beautification Commission donated labor and supplies.
Another phase of additional planting and sprucing up the garden will take place on June 24, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more info, call (708) 344-3577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. VFP
Friday, April 28, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews
The Illinois Prairie Path, which runs through many communities throughout the state (including Maywood and Bellwood), needs sprucing up! Each year, community members throughout the area come together for an annual cleanup.
Join us as we clean up the Maywood and Bellwood section of the path. We’ll meetup on Saturday, April 29, 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., at 1100 S. 11th Ave. in Maywood.
Please bring your favorite gardening gloves and rakes. We will have some available, but its better to have extras. Garbage bags will be provided.
High school students, this is a great way to get community service hours. For more information contact JoAnn Murphy at JOANN.DEBOCK.MURPHY@GMAIL.COM. VFP
F E A T U R E D E V E N T
Sunday, September 24, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
A report published last week by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6 — the chemical made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich” — could be in the drinking water of nearly 71 million Americans.
Chromium-6, studies have shown, has been linked with numerous types of cancer, skin rashes and other health complications.
Among those millions of Americans who may be exposed to chromium-6 are residents of Maywood, Bellwood and Melrose Park, whose water systems, the EWG’s tests indicate, have levels of chromium-6 ranging between 600 percent and more than 1,000 percent higher than the level considered safe by California public health officials.
The bad news is that this stuff, tests indicate, is in the water and at levels that ought to give lawmakers, regulators and public health officials serious pause.
It’s up to us the voters to push them into action (the easiest way to do it is by calling your local congressman and/or state lawmaker and initiating a conversation about what steps the state and federal government are taking to mitigate this problem).
The good news is that there’s a more immediate way to get this toxic stuff out of the water that comes out of our faucets and shower heads.
The solution? A filter, as PBS reports:
“The most effective way to remove chromium-6 from drinking water is with an ion exchange water treatment unit, said Ian Webster, president of Project Navigator, an environmental engineering project management company, retained to represent the Hinkley community. PG&E is using this technique to treat the drinking water in Hinkley.
“The technology relies on tiny beads of Jello-like resin packed into columns. As the chromium-laced water travels through the treatment unit, chromium-6 ions cling to the resin beads, getting removed from the water in the process. This technology is also effective for removing arsenic and manganese, which are also present in Hinkley groundwater.
“A word of warning though: Over time, the metals build up in the filter, reducing its effectiveness. The unit must be actively monitored and maintained, and filters must be replaced regularly.”
The Environmental Working Group even features a nifty water filter buying guide on its website, which allows you customize your purchase based on a variety of preferences, including filter technology, which specific contaminants you’re seeking to remove and how much you want to spend.
Read the PBS article in full to see which filter specification you should be looking for when you visit EWG’s water filter buying guide web page (click the image below to access it). VFP
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Oak Park middle schooler Jadyn Dale hauls soil in a wheelbarrow last Saturday while helping to install a native garden pathway outside of his school. Below, students plant native vegetation in the garden. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
As the complications of climate change, which include more frequent, more severe flooding, affect the western suburbs, one nonprofit is touting a particularly simple, and elegant, method for dealing with those problems.
West Cook Wild Ones — the Oak Park-based Illinois chapter of a national nonprofit with branches in at least a dozen states — encourages residents and organizations to plant shrubs, trees, plants and grasses native to the region.
Replacing the plain grass in your front-yard with native blooms like purple prairie clover and big bluestem, Wild Ones members say, is as easy as acquiring a shovel, some soil, a wheelbarrow and some native plants — and setting aside several hours over the weekend, as some students who attend an Oak Park middle school did last Saturday.
“You don’t have to water [native plants] as much, since their roots will go down 10 or 15 feet,” said Wild Ones member Stephanie Walquist, who helped out at Brooks. “They also pull down carbon. Because the roots go down [so deep], most of the natives, like the grasses, suck down the carbon and then every year the root system dies back a little bit so that carbon is always down in the soil, unless you till it and dig it. Everybody in Illinois should be doing it.”
“There are Wild Ones chapters all over the country and people can find out what’s native to their area and then plant those kind of things,” said Wild Ones member Carolyn Cullen. “The butterflies and other insects that have lived here for thousands of years — that’s what they like.”
“Illinois used to be 60 percent prairie,” added Walquist. “Now, it’s [less than 1 percent] prairie.”
Native vegetation also requires less maintenance than the non-native kind, the women said. They don’t need pesticides and they naturally attract insects and birds that cultivate a self-contained ecosystem. The plants, Walquist said, pretty much regulate themselves throughout the year. VFP