By Monica Thomas for SUST 210*
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has loaned the village of Schaumburg nearly a half-million dollars to clean up a 54-acre site in its industrial region. The loan was provided to the village to insure the environmental safety of the surrounding area before any development can take place. The IEPA insists the land is contaminated, though the village of Schaumburg does not agree. Schaumburg officials believe this land should not have this contaminated label as the land, site of the former Murzyn-Anderson property, was used as farmland. However, in the 1970s there was illegal dumping on this very land in Schaumburg which has led to its status as being a landfill and poor soil today.
The village spent a total of $7.8 million gradually buying the site from the Murzyn and Anderson families between 2003 and 2007.
The purchase was considered important as a way of keeping one of the largest undeveloped sites remaining in the village as a single unit — thus keeping alive a greater number of potential uses.
At 54 acres, the site is slightly larger than the 45 acres on which the village built the Renaissance Hotel and Schaumburg Convention Center at the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway and Meacham Road.
Nevertheless, the village hasn’t identified a specific use — though its proximity to Schaumburg Regional Airport rules out any kind of residential development, [Schaumburg Village Manager Ken ]Fritz said.
But between the IEPA’s concerns and the state of the economy, the village hasn’t yet begun marketing the site in earnest, Fritz added.
Whether or not the village’s opinion is accurate, there are specific standards set forth by the IEPA that Schaumburg has to observe and the clean-up must take place. Because of this, the funds being loaned can either be paid back with money acquired from a sale of the land to developers or be forgiven by the IEPA after fifteen years if the land is not sold. This is beneficial because the money will not fall on the village for repayment.
This is not the first time Schaumburg has received money from the state for this site. In 2011, a grant of over $40,000 was awarded to the Village by the state for an environmental study of the land. The Village of Schaumburg boasts a commitment to sustainability initiatives. Within such a context, the $400,000 loan provided by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency becomes a valuable tool to remediating pollution in the Murzyn-Anderson brownfield site as the first step toward what will hopefully be the property’s sustainable redevelopment..
Submitted 8 Mar 2013
* Each week during the Spring 2013 semester, two to three students in the SUST 210 Sustainable Future online/Schaumburg class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.