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The Phoenix Awards recognized the City of Chicago with its Regional Award, People’s Choice Award, and Grand Prize for 2011 for building the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center (RJKCCC). Chicago’s winning project is a state of the art facility that provides vital community services in the West Pullman area. The center is the result of a six year public/private collaboration that created hundreds of job opportunities while boosting local economic growth. Built on the Brownfield site, 32 acres of land that had sat vacant and contaminated since 1998, the City of Chicago and private partners implemented innovative remediation activities, created new green spaces, and ensured that the redeveloped land complied with all environmental regulations on the federal, state, and local levels.
“I am proud to accept the Phoenix Award on behalf of the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Investing in our neighborhoods through job creation, economic growth and green development is key to Chicago’s future. Transforming this industrial area into the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center will improve the quality of life for Chicagoans by providing vital services and opportunities to underserved communities, while moving towards a more sustainable future.”
In place of the Brownfield site, the City developed the RJKCCC facility to provide a variety of important services to the surrounding community. The new community facility provides job training programs, sporting activities for high school students, and several educational programs in athletics and the arts. In addition to these services, the project benefits the local economy by creating 200 construction jobs, 130 full-time jobs, and 70 part-time permanent or seasonal jobs. It is projected to raise $25.3 million in new tax revenue by its ten year anniversary, and will help generate over $350 million in economic output over the next two decades.
Chicago’s RJKCCC is the largest of 15 such facilities across the country. The City developed the award-winning project in conjunction with Tetra Tech, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Sidley Austin LLP, The Salvation Army, International Facilities Group LLC, Antunovich Associates, and the URS Corporation.
“Our Ray and Joan Kroc Center has become a critical anchor in the Morgan Park and Roseland neighborhoods,” said Alderman Carrie Austin, 34th Ward. “Our seniors, our children, and their parents can take part in a positive environment of healthy activity. Working with the Salvation Army and the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation, we were able transform our community.”
The Phoenix Awards honor groups that revitalize blighted or contaminated areas with sustainable development initiatives. Chosen sites are typically abandoned industrial sites, which are then transformed into safe and productive community assets. Award winners are selected based on their project’s magnitude, innovative techniques, solutions to regulatory and social issues, and impact on the community. By honoring revitalization projects that provide sustainable and innovative solutions, The Phoenix Awards provide models of positive redevelopment of Brownfield sites for other communities around the world.
The Phoenix Awards program is part of the National Brownfields Conference sponsored by the US EPA, ICMA, and many other partners. This year’s ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia recognized winners from the 2011 and 2012 pool of entries.