West Chicago's Kerr McGee Site Details
Please scroll through this page, or use the buttons below to view certain news items in chronological order issued by the City of West Chicago in reference to the Kerr McGee site.
Online Portal Open to Submit Feedback for Community Park
(This article was posted on November 3, 2022)
The City hosted a community input meeting on Wednesday, November 2 at the West Chicago City Hall to gather feedback from the community regarding a vision for a new park at the Kerr-McGee site.
For those unable to attend the meeting, the complete survey from the evening has been made available online and will be open for input through Monday, November 7. To submit your feedback about the park, please use the button below.
Please note: The City will also host an additional community input meeting on Wednesday, November 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The online portal was closed on Monday, November 7, 2022.
City to Host Community Input Meetings for Park Planning at Kerr McGee Site
(This article was posted on October 18, 2022)
The City of West Chicago and the City’s consultant, Upland Design, will be hosting two community meetings at the West Chicago City Hall located at 475 Main Street to gather community input regarding the community park development at the Kerr-McGee property.
The meetings will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2 and Wednesday, November 30.
During the meetings, residents will be asked to provide their input on different ideas and images presented by the City’s consultant as well as vote on their favorite park elements.
City Enters Agreement for Park Planning Services for Kerr McGee Site with Upland Design Ltd.
(This article was posted on October 5, 2022)
On Monday, October 3, the City Council approved the contract agreement with Upland Design Ltd. for park planning services for the Kerr McGee site.
The planning process will take approximately 3-4 months commencing in early October and is anticipated to be completed in January of 2023. The main components of the park planning services include site analysis, needs assessment, various community outreach efforts including multiple public input meetings, development of master plan, phasing plan, and construction cost estimates. Budgeting for the implementation and construction will not occur until 2024 at the earliest. this timeframe will allow the City time to identify revenue and partnership resources.
Upland Design Ltd. is an accomplished firm that has extensive experience in the Chicagoland area with park planning that focuses on community input. The City had budgeted $25,000 for this planning process, and Upland Design Ltd. provided a quote slightly less than the budgeted cost in the amount of $23,200. City staff received two proposals for the project which also included a quote from Hitchcock Design Group in the amount of $36,800.
Kerr-McGee Cleanup to Conclude: City Prepares for Future Park at Site
(This article was posted on September 24, 2022)
The former Rare Earths Facility (REF) will finally receive its remaining cleanup touch before it is transferred to the City of West Chicago for use as a new city park. The REF extracted thorium from monazite ore from 1932 to 1973. The operations generated significant quantities of waste materials and contamination of the surrounding areas. Significant decommissioning and cleanup work at the REF have been accomplished since the 1980s, with the final train car carrying thorium-contaminated soil departing the City in November 2015. Following a lengthy and comprehensive cleanup endeavor, all remediated areas were verified to comply with residential-use-based soil cleanup standards.
Although all on-site materials meet cleanup standards, residual constituents such as uranium continue to leach from some of the remediated soil into the shallow groundwater aquifer. The resulting contaminated groundwater in the shallow aquifer does not pose an exposure threat to human health and the environment because it is confined to a small geographical area, its constituent concentrations are declining, and the residential population does not use it. The shallow groundwater is not of sufficient quantity or quality as a source for drinking water or other domestic purposes. Furthermore, the existing laws and regulations prevent and control the use of this groundwater for human consumption and other uses. Groundwater in the deep bedrock aquifers, from which the City of West Chicago derives its water supply, is not impacted by the shallow groundwater contamination at the REF.
The residual occurrence of uranium in groundwater is a direct result of former operations at the
REF and all governing entities involved in the remediation require the contaminated groundwater to be remediated to the extent possible. As a result, the remaining groundwater contamination will be addressed using $36 million in federal funds remaining in the West Chicago Environmental Response Trust. The Environmental Analysis for this remediation phase, currently being drafted by IEMA, will be shared with the local stakeholders in advance of implementation.
Weston Solutions, Inc., not individually but solely in its representative capacity as the Trustee of the West Chicago Environmental Response Trust (WCERT), has begun implementing initial site activities for undertaking the final decommissioning of the REF. This final remediation will take three to five years to complete, after which the land associated with the REF will be conveyed to the City of West Chicago.
In preparation for the property transfer, the City of West Chicago has issued a Request for Proposals to landscape design firms to help the City Council create the park that will be built on the old REF site. Once a landscape design firm has been chosen, a procedure for soliciting public comment will be developed to get meaningful community involvement. This community feedback will be used to shape the final park design. In addition, the City will collaborate and partner with the West Chicago Park District on this initiative.
Congressman Casten Announces Committee Passage of $2 Million in Federal Funding for Kerr-McGee Superfund Site
(This article was posted on July 11, 2022)
On Thursday, July 7, Congressman Casten announced in a press release from his office, that the House Appropriations Committee passed $16,274,400 in federal funding for fourteen of Congressman Casten (IL-06)’s community project funding proposals, which will now advance to the House floor for final passage. The fourteen projects will provide housing to victims of domestic abuse, address the mental health crisis, provide quality health care to those who might not otherwise be able to access it, deliver cleaner air and water, help underserved children, improve safety, boost economic opportunity and more.
Of the fourteen projects scheduled for fiscal year 2023, a funding proposal of $2 million was passed for the City of West Chicago for the remediation and transformation of the Kerr-McGee Superfund site into a state-of-the-art community park. As part of the process, the City will retain a landscape architect to work with community representatives to design a park at the location. The anticipated project schedule for the transformation of the site is for design work to occur in 2022 with construction beginning in 2023.
While community members need to be involved in its design, some potential park amenities include a therapeutic playground, walking paths, a monarch butterfly garden, a community gathering space for festivals, and public art. It will also include a path to a culvert under the Canadian National Railroad tracks that would link to Pioneer Park, and allow residents on both sides of the tracks to enjoy the amenities of both Parks.
Visit the Office of Sean Casten's website to view the full requested appropriation and Congressman Casten's Letter to the Appropriations Committee.
Congressman Casten said, “With passage by the House Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to have moved one step closer to delivering funding for projects that will do so much to improve the lives of folks in Chicagoland. From treating students’ mental health needs, helping survivors of domestic abuse, and improving access to health care to electrifying our local school buses, cleaning our air, and drinking water, these projects will do so much for our community.”
In response to being notified that the City's project would be included in the initial House Appropriations Bill, Mayor Pineda provided the following statement.
“The City of West Chicago owes Representative Casten and his team an enormous debt of gratitude for their continued advocacy on our behalf, and for their dedication towards securing funding to transform a soon to be former Superfund site into a state-of-the-art park for all our community members to enjoy. This is a fitting end to this cleanup that has plagued West Chicago for decades, and we cannot thank them enough for their continued support of West Chicago residents. ”