The Northwest Incinerator’s Past, Present and Future
City Bureau reporters Martha Bayne, Darien Boyd, LaCreshia Birts and Amber Colón Núñez explored ideas of development, activism and safeguarding community knowledge during City Bureau's Spring 2017 reporting fellowship. The project started with a simple question: what's up with those smoke stacks over there?
Located in the Northwest Industrial Corridor at 700 N. Kilbourn Ave., the incinerator opened n 1971 and was shut down 25 years later in 1996 after repeated pushes from environmental and community activists in the area, who ultimately advocated for the repeal of the Illinois Retail Rate Law, which ultimately led to the demise of the Northwest Incinerator, then one of the only remaining incinerators in the state of Illinois. City Bureau's reporting team spent 10 weeks doing research, gathering information and of course, talking to the folks who are directly impacted by the Northwest Industrial Corridor's future, whose TIF expires in 2021.
Special thanks to Steven Vance of Chicago Cityscape for capturing drone footage of the incinerator site and its surrounding areas.