PILSEN — A neighborhood environmental group plans to protest 25th Ald. Danny Solis' support of a controversial metal shredder which has already been given city approval.
The group, PERRO, plans to first drop off a letter of protest and hold a rally outside Solis' ward office, 1800 S. Blue Island Ave., at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. If the alderman still hasn't withdrawn his support by Thursday evening, PERRO will then hold a candlelight vigil outside the office later that evening.
Pure Metal Recycling, the company pushing the 15-acre shredder at Loomis Street and Cermak Road, has already held a series of community meetings within the Pilsen neighborhood. In February, plans for the $30 million shredder were approved by the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.
Chloe Riley discusses why some neighbors are upset on DNAinfo Radio:
Despite the city support, PERRO spokesman Jerry Mead-Lucero said a word from the alderman could halt the shredder's progress.
"The only way to really stop this thing is if the alderman decides he doesn’t want to see it happen. From here on out, all of our targets will be focused on changing the alderman's mind. Our members are still really committed to try to stop this thing any way possible," Mead-Lucero said.
Solis spokeswoman Stacy Raker said the alderman still supports the shredder and cited 759 signatures of support from neighborhood residents as part of that decision.
"Residents cited the company's emphasis on hiring locally, maintaining proper environmental safeguards and protecting against any potential safety issues in this decision and Alderman Solis believes this project strikes the right balance between creating local jobs and protecting the community," Raker said via email.
Pure Metal Recycling is largely owned by Brett Baron, whose father, Larry Baron, is president of the Bridgeport-based Acme Metal Refinery, which previously donated nearly $33,000 to a campaign fund of Ald. Danny Solis (25th). Last August, the Bridgeport metal refinery was raided by agents from the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Pure Metal Recycling President Mark Swedlow has said the claim that the two companies are connected is inaccurate.