It’s deja vu all over again with General Iron

In a baffling move, RMG wants to return to the Lincoln Park site it was chased from in 2019 after years of complaints about the noise and odors the facility generated.

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General Iron’s Lincoln Park operation.

General Iron wants to reactivate metal recycling at its long-time Lincoln Park site. But the mayor and the alderperson say no.

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Metal scrapper Reserve Management Group might now see the writing on the wall when it comes to opening a recycling facility in the South Deering neighborhood.

So much so, the company is now looking for a new spot to set up shop.

But in a baffling move, RMG wants to move back to its old Lincoln Park site — the same place it was essentially chased from in 2019 after years of complaints about the noise and odors the facility generated.

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Return to Lincoln Park not a possibility: Mayor

RMG decided to leave its Lincoln Park location at 1909 N. Clifton Ave., and built an $80 million metal-shredding operation at East 116th Street and the Calumet River in 2020.

But Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady in February denied Reserve Management a permit to operate the new facility, citing health and pollution concerns.

Southeast Side activists had been publicly raising the same concerns before the new plant was built, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration held fast to a 2019 agreement to help the company make the move to the Southeast Side, then belatedly changed its mind with Arwady’s decision.

But the road back to Lincoln Park might be impossible for RMG. City officials have rejected the relocation plan, which was submitted through a trio of permit applications in February.

A hearing appealing the decision has not yet been scheduled.

Meanwhile, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) whose ward includes the Lincoln Park location, this week said, “it’s time to talk about the future of that site and not its industrial past.”

Said Lightfoot about the company’s chances in Lincoln Park: “I don’t see that as a possibility.”

RMG: Go where you’re wanted

If an establishment wants to charge at windmills, that’s their business — although it’s not entirely RMG’s fault they are in this mess.

Had Lightfoot listened to Southeast Side residents who said no RMG in 2019, the situation might be headed down a different path today. (And RMG might not be suing the city for $100 million for going back on their deal.)

Still, given how much time, space, civic and social resources have been devoted to RMG’s relocation issues, it would be better for the company to find somewhere they are wanted.

Because it makes no sense for them to force themselves where they are not.

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