Lockport Residents Decry Plan For Massive Industrial Park

CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of people have signed an online petition saying they do not want two million square feet of warehouses and trucking terminals built in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Jon Basile, owner of Big Run Wolf Ranch in Lockport, said thousands of young people a year visit his six-acre ranch to see wild animals like a black bear, a Siberian tiger, a cougar, wolves, and more.

Developers have proposed building a five-warehouse industrial park just south of 143rd Street and just west of Interstate 355. The site would have room for hundreds of semi-tractor trailers on what is now vacant land right next door to the ranch.

“Where all this beautiful view here with my animals, I’ll be looking at the back end of trailers. Who’s going to want to come here? It’s probably the end of the ranch,” Basile said.

Basile said, if the new truck terminals are built, it would be a health hazard for the animals on his ranch, especially the cougar and Siberian tiger.

“The benzene, the fluorine, the arsenic, and everything like that; basically all my big cat experts said you probably better get rid of them, because it’s going to kill them. They’re very, very sensitive to the surroundings. Remember, he comes from Siberia, where it’s pristine woods, and the cougar comes from the mountains,” he said.

Diana and Stan Quade said they don’t want the trucking terminals in their neighborhood, either. Hundreds of homes are located just north and south of the land where the industrial park would be built.

According to a website created by opponents of the plan, the facility would create “crippling traffic” in the surrounding neighborhoods, and lead to increased air pollution and the risk of chemical spills into the surrounding communities.

“It’s a horrible thing to do to a community,” Stan Quade said.

He said the truck traffic created by the industrial park would be too much for the surrounding residential area, where trucks already are a problem, with two existing truck terminals on the east side of the tollway.

“We get about 12 tractor trailers per day that are going up and down. This is a school area. You know, we have buses all in the morning and in the afternoon. We’ve got a park down on the corner. I’ve seen two kids almost get hit,” he said.

Diana Quade said big rigs already drive on residential streets when they aren’t supposed to.

“It’ll probably decrease the values of our homes. Who wants to live by that? Nobody,” she said.

Lockport’s Planning & Zoning Commission has scheduled a meeting for Jan. 10 to hear from the developer before voting on whether the plan should move forward for a review by the City Council.

In response to questions about the plan, Lockport Mayor Steve Streit emailed a link to the city’s web site on the proposal. According to the city, the 206 acres targeted for the industrial park was zoned for industrial use long before any houses were built in the area. It also said it’s likely the proposal will look much different after public hearings are held.

WBBM Newsradio also has attempted to get a comment from Prologis LP, the company that has proposed the industrial park.

More than 1,700 people already have signed an online petition against the industrial park.

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