Elwood’s Safe Roads Campaign Comes to a Halt for NorthPoint Development
In 2015, the Village of Elwood created the Will County Coalition of the People to help spread the word about an initiative they were launching: the Safe Roads campaign. The Safe Roads IL website proclaims “We Need to Take Back Our Roads!” and states “Overwhelming truck traffic resulting from the unplanned, overdevelopment of intermodal facilities and warehouses in Will County is overrunning our community, creating dangerous conditions and taking lives.” Its goal was to stop overdevelopment — which would be stopping a completely unnecessary 2 million acre warehousing and trucking facility. But where is it now?
Website Remains Without Updates
While the website, www.saferoadsil.com is still live, it hasn’t been updated. We asked Elwood officials what happened to the campaign. They claim that they still care about safe roads. However, the traffic fatality map and news updates are sadly missing recent updates. There have been no new public campaigns by the Village for this cause. Most egregiously, the Village of Elwood continues to forge ahead with NorthPoint Development’s Compass Business Park. The phone number on the website goes to a voicemail.
In spite of fierce local opposition by citizens and neighboring taxing bodies, Elwood seems to ruthlessly forge ahead. No one knows why. The proposed industrial warehousing facility is in direct conflict with the very ideals that the Safe Roads campaign touted.
We Stand Behind Safe Roads
The Safe Roads initiative embodies what we promote – responsible growth and a stop to the overdevelopment of this area. Our infrastructure cannot support what we currently have, and as a result of that, dangerous road conditions cause unsafe conditions for ALL drivers on the road.
Even beyond infrastructure and road safety issues, the Compass Business Park warehousing and trucking facility stands to negatively affect farmers in the area. The project would pave over pristine farmland, which was highlighted in an article in Sierra Club Magazine. By inhibiting the ability for neighboring farmers — not the farmers who have options on their land, but instead those who didn’t ask for this project — they changing the landscape of this community. To prevent them from continuing to do their work, the project not only wipes out the farmland in its path, but it further devastates the surrounding area, its history and heritage, and its future. Farmers produce food for America. Don’t like farms? Don’t eat.
We Stand With Warehouse Workers and Truckers
Make no mistake — our position is in no way shape or form against warehouse workers or truckers. We know that each play a vital role in our economy, and both have dangerous jobs with pay that doesn’t cut it. We have met with leaders of Warehouse Workers for Justice who are fighting to ensure safe working environments and fair pay. Their stories are harrowing, and we support their efforts.
Compass Business Park will not be a warehousing facility that will allow workers to unionize. NorthPoint Development was asked this, and they couldn’t do it. The warehouses in the area aren’t promoting good jobs, so why add more to it and negatively impact the available workplace? Similarly, port drivers are being misclassified and underpaid while being forced to work long hours, making our roads even more dangerous. We support the workers, not the developers who take advantage of them.
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On trucking forums online, inland port truckers share their grievances with Elwood’s Centerpoint Intermodal. With dangerous conditions for truckers, it doesn’t make sense to add more congestion to the area – all without any tax revenue or community benefits. This developer is seeking tax abatements that would mean that their project would not generate tax revenue, which is one promise among many that are highly misconstrued in the public. There are no benefits to this project. The only one who wins is the developer.
Bnsf rail in Elwood IL yesterday. Driver is okay.
Why Stop Now?
In order to help this 2015 effort to take back local roads, Elwood hired Scott Burnham of Chicago PR firm Serafin & Associates to help.
Burnham is now the spokesman for NorthPoint Development.
Elwood continues to deny that they are being disingenuous. They claim they are simply hearing NorthPoint out as they forge ahead in the face of intense criticism and opposition. When will Elwood officials figure out that they work for the people? Shine your red light proudly and tell them to STOP NorthPoint. Show up at board meetings. Send them letters. Don’t stop fighting.