Background: Redevelopment & Site Reuse Planning

The Northeast Mixed Use District (NEMUD) was identified as priority site in the City’s 2005 adopted Blue Island Plan for Economic Development. Redevelopment efforts began in 2006 when Blue Island received an IEPA Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment grant.  Since that time, the City has worked closely with IEPA and environmental consultants, V3 Companies, to complete Phase I & II Assessments.

Since the 2005 adoption of the Blue Island Plan, Blue Island has worked to implement the redevelopment priorities set forth for the proposed project area.  In 2006, the City received an IEPA Municipal Brownfields Redevelopment Grant to perform assessments on the former landfill. Between 2007 and 2008 – until hit by the recession – the City was working with 2 master developers on the redevelopment of the site.

As recent as a few years ago, limited availability of data on the subsurface conditions of the site made redevelopment far too risky, despite the renewed interest of developers who have been re-attracted to inner ring, suburban communities. Up until late 2008, the City was working with two master developers on redevelopment of the site, but the current economic recession has left the City without a master development plan.

Despite the lack of a master developer, Blue Island continues to move forward with redevelopment efforts for this area, as resources permit.  The City has used its limited TIF funds to perform preliminary geotechnical studies and subsequent rounds of site investigations at the former landfill located within the project area.  In 2009, the City was awarded a Brownfields Cleanup Grant for a parcel located within the District. In order to advance existing conceptual redevelopment plans and spur redevelopment and reuse of the proposed project site, a sustainable master plan and comprehensive redevelopment and site preparation strategies are needed. In 2011, the City was awarded Brownfields Cleanup Grants for 3 additional parcels within the District.

Conceptual plans for the project area include the redevelopment of an 87-acre former landfill site based on sustainable development principles.  Although sustainable/”green” design is becoming somewhat common, the geotechnical challenges presented by a former landfill site require the innovative application of sustainability solutions and possibly the creation of new techniques.

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