Gary Dingle, Branch President, NAACP Chicago Far South Suburban Branch
Much controversy has surrounded the property of the Calumet Country Club, which a new developer recently purchased. Zoned as a golf course, the new owners sought to change this, leading to opposition from local community leaders and the NAACP Chicago Far South Suburban Branch. In exciting news, this community activism has delivered results with the local Homewood Zoning Board voting not to change the property’s zoning status. The Homewood Village Board also voted against the change. The NAACP has responded by praising the Board’s integrity and for their decision to show the opinion of local people on the matter is of utmost value.
The NAACP is a catalyst in promoting improvements to increase the opportunity for all people. We continue to work with every community segment to remove barriers for a better quality of life. This is a good example of that hard work producing real results. The NAACP commends the courageous zoning board for voting against the rezoning of Calumet Country Club, and we praise the Board of Trustees in Homewood for following their recommendation.
We also send our sincere thanks and high regards to the many other community groups and people who have worked hard fighting the golf club issue the last two years. The activist groups of Homewood and surrounding communities were terrific. The citizens included activists, scientists, business people, and grandparents worried about the toxic exhaust and how it would affect their grandchildren. We all comprehended the danger to the community. Together we pressured Diversified Properties and ensured the Planning and Zoning Board understood how the community felt. The Planning and Zoning Board did their due diligence with facts, data, laws, and science and arrived at the only decision possible. The victory shows what can happen when people stand together.
The South Suburbs has been targeted as location to dump potentially hazardous industries in communities of color. Diversified Partners assumed that low-paying jobs and minuscule tax revenues is all that’s necessary to let them destroy a bedroom community with 350 to 400 trucks 24 hours a day.
The local community and NAACP oppose this rezoning for several important reasons, including the heightened danger it would cause for local families through an increase in the number of trucks passing through, besides the redevelopment depriving the residents of green space, adding to pollution, and otherwise harming the health of area residents.
It’s not over and done with. Because of weak laws designed to promote corporate growth over human life, they may develop the property.
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