Local activists mobilized in opposition to NorthPoint Development, hosting a community meeting over the weekend to urge people to spread the word ahead of the Joliet City Council’s vote.
City council members are expected to decide if it’s best to allow for a proposed a light industrial use at a public meeting on Tuesday.
NorthPoint Development wants to develop 103 acres located on the south side of Breen Road and one-half mile east of Rowell Avenue.
Stephanie Irvine, a founder of Just Say No to North Point, said this is a big proposal before the city council.
“It is absolutely a precursor for an additional phase of adding 2,200 acres of warehousing in what right now is currently farmland,” she said.
Irvine contends that having 103 acres in proximity to a larger 2,200 acres eyed by NorthPoint Development is a reason to have concern.
“NorthPoint had approached the city of Joliet with a watered down plan for 103 acres that just so happens to be one parcel away from the rest of that entire property,” she said.
When the villages of Manhattan and Elwood were presented with NorthPoint Development’s plan, officials rejected it.
It remains unclear if the city of Joliet will follow suit.
Roberto Jesus Clack of Warehouse Workers for Justice urges people to recognize that communities have the ability to say no to developments.
Several acknowledged they understand why warehousing and logistics appeal to Will County and said it is home to CenterPoint intermodal, the largest inland port in North America.
“CenterPoint, when initially it was picked up, part of what made it palatable was that it was supposed to be a closed-door system where things came in, they went right to the warehouses, and it was all in this little area,” Irvine said. “It was supposed to be contained where it wasn’t beyond the roads within the business parkways, and we started to see that happen.”
Clack and Irvine said it’s clear that warehouse, manufacturing and logistic developments bring their share of benefits and drawbacks locally and across the nation.
“We need the warehouses and the logistics because that is the international way of doing business with people,” Clack said. “Amazon is really the big player, the big elephant in the room. Four years ago, in 2015, there is not a single Amazon employee in the entire state. The first Amazon was … opened in August of 2015 in Joliet.”
“We are all part of this problem of shopping online and e-commerce and stores are closing, but the reality is this … area is the biggest inland port,” Irvine said. “We’re carry weight for the entire nation just in this small area.”
Activists said they would like people to turnout for both the pre-council and the city council meetings on Monday and Tuesday.
Should anyone not be able to attend either or both meetings, activists said they want people to call and/or email their city council members to make their views known.