Residents from Detroit’s Core City neighborhood are banding together to oppose a planned concrete crushing facility.
According to Michigan Radio, residents of Core City believe that building the “heavy industrial site” in the neighborhood could be health hazardous for the community. Now, they are urging city officials to deny the facility a permit. The crushing project is being developed by Can-Am International Trade Crossing, a limited liability company owned by real estate developer Murray Wikol.
“We’re here to tell them that we will not be used as a sacrifice zone for their own profit,” resident Vaness Butterworth told Michigan Radio during a recent interview. “This fight is about a predatory industrial developer taking advantage of an underserved Black and low-income community for his own profit.”
Residents have environmental concerns about the concrete facility
Residents from Core City have raised several health concerns about the planned crushing operation. They believe that “fugitive dust” from the site could impact the environment and health of people living in the area. The harsh dust has been linked to serious respiratory issues like aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Joanne Arnold, who lives 250 feet away from the proposed plant, expressed her concerns about the project, telling The Detroit News, “I do not want to breathe the concrete dust, be close to toxic water runoff, or hear the noise of machinery and trucks all day long. Everyone deserves clean air, clean water and a sense of safety at home — and I will fight until this project is rejected.”
Additionally, residents are also uncomfortable with the facility’s planned manager, Vaughn Smith, who has been reportedly cited at least four times for state environmental violations at similar facilities since 2020.
A glimmer of hope
As reported by Detroit News, More than 1000 people have signed a petition demanding for the city’s Buildings, Safety Equipment, and Environmental Department to reject the facility’s proposal.
Earlier this month, Detroit officials offered a glimmer of hope about the case when they revealed Can-Am International Trade Crossing had requested a change of use permit, hoping to find an already active concrete crushing facility. At the time, Detroit Corporation Counsel Conrad Mallett said that he was in the process of “reviewing” the request.
“We thoroughly examine all change of use requests for community impact and take into consideration the feedback we receive from residents in the area when making our decision. We can say that this project in particular has received a large amount of negative feedback,” he added.
Detroit State Senator Stephanie Change also released a statement, standing in solidarity with the residents of Core City.
“I stand with the residents and neighborhood leaders of Core City and have serious concerns about locating a concrete crushing facility on Lawton Street in such close proximity to neighborhood residents,” her statement read. “We need to make sure that we protect the public health and quality of life of Core City residents who have done so much to revitalize the neighborhood.”
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