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City plans new park in Little Village at former asphalt factory site

Rendering park planned for former asphalt factory site Little Village. Photo/Mayor's press office.

Rendering of park planned for former asphalt factory site in Little Village. Photo/Mayor's press office.

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Updated: September 22, 2012 11:45PM

What was once the home of an asphalt factory will be transformed into a place that couldn’t be more different: a public park.

The city and Chicago Park District announced Saturday that they plan to spend $8 million to build a park at the site of a 24-acre lot that was had been used by the Celotex asphalt factory in Little Village.

The factory, which made asphalt roofing products, has been closed for two decades. Now the property at 31st and Albany will become a green space with a playground, basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, a skate park and trails, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office said in a written statement.

Construction is scheduled to begin in March and wrap up by the spring of 2014.

The city said the mayor received was also given a plan from a task force Saturday with suggestions on how to revitalize the site of the former Fisk and Crawford coal plants.

The plants were shut down last month by Midwest Generation after more than a decade of protests from community groups and residents in the Little Village and Pilsen communities.

The plan was created by the task force assembled earlier this year and includes 13 recommendations, including decommissioning the plants and preparing the sites for future development. However, it says little about what specifically the properties might be used for after they are cleaned up and cleared.

Emanuel said in a statement that it’s important to “return these areas to active, productive use for the residents of the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. This report is an important step toward creating jobs and a healthy environment for these communities.”

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