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Cook County Officials Set To Demolish 2 Buildings At Jail Campus In Little Village This SpringAir
Air quality monitoring data will be available to neighbors during the demolition work.

Thursday, January 14, 2021
Block Club Chicago
by Mauricio Peña

 LITTLE VILLAGE — Cook County officials will demolish two former dormitories at the county jail campus in Little Village this spring.

On Wednesday night, Cook County officials from the Bureau of Asset Management detailed demolition plans for two buildings at the complex at 2700 S. California Ave.

The county plans to demolish buildings known as Division 1 and 1A. The vacant buildings, built in the early 1900s, were deteriorating and were “costly” and difficult to maintain, said Earl Manning, director of Capital Planning & Policy with Cook County.

In addition, the number of people detained at the campus by the county has fallen from roughly 10,000 to 5,000 inmates, Manning said.

“The buildings are beyond their useful life,” Manning said.

County officials said prep work had already started to make way for “heavy demolition” slated to begin in the spring and be completed in October. Demolition work will be done 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

The site will be made restored into a recreational area for inmates, officials said.

County officials said they would not use explosives. Instead, they will use “selective demolition,” taking the building apart “piece by piece,” Manning said.

The demolition would be similar to the method used for other demolitions at the site between 2016 to 2018, officials said.

Demolition contractors will use water systems to control dust from becoming airborne, said Elizabeth Granato, deputy bureau chief of the Bureau of Asset Management.

Per requests from neighbors, county officials will conduct daily air quality monitoring and data will be published the following day on the project’s website throughout the demolition, Granato said.

Air quality monitoring will be managed daily by Carnow Conibear and Associates.

A technician will be onsite during demolition days. Granato said they have adjusted traffic routes to limit the impact to the heart of the Little Village community.

During the meeting, Jose Acosta, a member of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, thanked Cook County officials for using air monitors.

In 2018, Acosta’s organization urged city health officials to require Hilco to use air monitors during its demolition work, but they were rebuffed. Residents were instead told to limit outdoor activities during demolition days.

Acosta expressed concerns about truck traffic during peak park hours and asked officials to consider checking in with park officials to ensure truck traffic from the demolition site wouldn’t have adverse activities at the nearby La Villita Park on Sacramento Avenue.

Granato said there will be continued dialogue on how to better mitigate truck traffic.

The county team said they will continue to make sure to keep community members, local school councils, neighbors informed as the demolition progresses.

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