The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

McKinley Park Asphalt Plant

Feb 17, 2020

Residents of Chicago’s blue collar McKinley Park neighborhood woke two years ago to find an asphalt plant operating in their neighborhood. There had been no public meetings or hearings held before the plant was built.

MAT asphalt plant is on 39th street just west of Damen. It sits just across the street from McKinley Park, the large park that gives the neighborhood its name. It’s next door to a charter high school. In addition to giving off a large quantity of dust, the plant draws 100 to 200 trucks to the neighborhood every day, each generating their own pollution, noise, and tearing up the neighborhood streets.

How did MAT get the okay to spew dust and particles in a residential neighborhood? They donated $10,000 to alderman George Cardenas’ campaign fund. But that was too obvious—Cardenas’ fund sent the donation back. And MAT then gave the ten grand to a community fund that also happens to be chaired by ... alderman Cardenas. The father of MAT’s owner was caught up in the hired truck scandal back in 2006—so this kind of corruption is a family tradition!

Community activists have held several community meetings in the past two years. They’ve put up signs all over the neighborhood, and have put up a petition to force the plant to relocate, which now has over 2,200 signatures.