Although the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed the presence of asbestos in 17 mobile homes and two permanent residences at the site of the former Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park, DeKalb County plans to move forward with a demolition project scheduled for completion by the end of May. “It’s the nature of coordinating a complicated demolition project,” said Paul Miller, the county’s Planning, Zoning, and Building director.
DeKalb County received $7.1 million in state and federal emergency grants to demolish the mobile home park and return the landscape to an open area. In fact, the grants stipulated that no new structures be built on the site of the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park, leaving the county with the task of determining what to do with the property.
So far, no formal steps have been taken, but officials are considering transferring the property to the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, said district superintendent Terry Hannan. “The future use of the land has not been progressed beyond the ideas stage, and has not yet been discussed in detail yet with the Forest Preserve District Committee and Commissioners,” said Hannan.
The idea to transfer the property to the preserve appeals to officials because the area, which includes 33 acres of farmland and approximately six acres of railroad right-of-way, differs from the land typically preserved by the county. “A lot of the forest preserves are in rural areas, and this would be in a more urban area,” explained County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr. If made into a preserve, the land would include bike paths and a pond.
However the land ends up being used, the county officials are first and foremost concerned with properly demolishing the existing structures, a task which includes the hiring of certified asbestos abatement contractors. Asbestos, which has been banned since the 1970s, is a toxic mineral which can cause serious respiratory illnesses, such as mesothelioma, so lawfully and properly removing the substance is a necessity.
“We would hope to have the demolition largely completed by the end of May,” stated Miller, who also said there are nine additional properties awaiting asbestos testing. “That’s always been the goal. It hasn’t moved back.”