After nearly three years of environmental cleanup work, the 17.4-acre piece of land on the southwest corner of McCormick Boulevard and Oakton Street will soon be ready for development by the Skokie Park District.
With the help of Skokie residents, the district has been planning to develop the site east of Skokie Sports Park, turning it into a multi-purpose athletic facility, which likely will include softball, baseball, soccer and cricket fields, as well as walking paths, parking and other site amenities.
The district board of commissioners will choose a development plan early in 2016, which will then need the approval of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) as well as the Village of Skokie, prior to construction. Partial funding for the work is in place. The district anticipates construction to be initiated sometime in 2016.
Environmental cleanup work on the site was begun by Nicor Gas in December 2012 and concluded in November 2015. Work was performed under the oversight of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as part of its voluntary Site Remediation Program for former manufactured gas plant sites.
Scientific reports on the site cleanup have recently been prepared and submitted to Nicor for review. Upon approval, the reports will then be forwarded to the property owner, the MWRDGC, and then to the IEPA, for review and approval. The IEPA is expected to complete their review within 60 days, after which they will draft a preliminary letter indicating the work is complete with no further remediation required (NFR). After time for comment on the preliminary letter, the IEPA will provide a final approval NFR letter. All parties anticipate a final approval with no significant restrictions on the use of the property, as it has been cleaned up to the highest (residential) standards.
The Skokie Park District, which leases the site from the MWRDGC, will be given access to the site only after the NFR letter is finalized and then after the MWRDGC has authorized access. Approval and development access is expected sometime in 2016, at which time the park district will begin construction.