CHICAGO (CBS) — It is difficult to be in Little Village without hearing the sounds of construction at a giant development, and concerns about its environmental impact loomed large for years. A small group has managed to make changes through grass roots efforts.
Between the heavy traffic, lingers the heavenly smell of Desiree Salazar’s taco tent.READ MORE: Northwestern University Bans All Social Activities At Campus Fraternities Until At Least Mid-October After Reports Of Drugging
“I’ve been here for six years,” she said.
But recently the traffic at her Little Village venture has increased due to the Hilco/Target warehouse project, a redevelopment of a once-industrial site spanning 70 acres at 35th and Pulaski and an eventual hub for retail distribution.
The environmental impact has drawn concern from neighbors, including a botched demolition, plans to host a 2,500 gallon fuel tank and filling station and the associated uptick in diesel truck traffic.
“Residents are complaining about their house structures being shaken,” said Anthony Gonzalez of the community group Mi Villita.
Friday, however, Gonzalez said he and about a dozen advocates managed to change those plans, getting agreements to keep trucks out of residential side streets and to forego the fuel tank.READ MORE: Evanston Police Called To A Stabbing, Fatal Shooting Incident
“Something that we’re very proud of,” he said.
He said the small group can make gains like this through persistence.
“Individual members of our organization went to our alderman and said, ‘Fight for us,'” he said. “We were tired of not being heard. I wouldn’t say shouting, but when it was necessary we were there to do it.”
Salazar does not mind the traffic but appreciates how a small group’s efforts can help quality of life nearby.
“This community in Little Village, this community sticks together here,” she siad.MORE NEWS: Family Remembers Azul De La Garza, Young Woman Shot And Killed In West Elsdon, As 'Beautiful Soul' With A Future In Art
CBS 2 reached out to the redeveloper and target. Target issued a statement reading in part, “We listen to the community to understand what’s important to them. We will take this input into consideration as we prepare to open.”