WBEZ | steel mill http://www.wbez.org/tags/steel-mill Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Take this job and shove it http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/take-job-and-shove-it-108780 <p><p>In 1949, when John Giolas was just 19, he started work at the U.S. Steel mill in Gary, Ind.</p><p>For a while, he had a plum job working in the metallurgical lab, testing all the steel. But then U.S. Steel started its downward slide, laying off workers. By the late 1950s, Giolas found himself working a series of increasingly &ldquo;low, demeaning jobs&rdquo; at the mill.</p><p>Giolas visited the StoryCorps booth with his sons Markus and Dale to remember the day he walked off the job and how he made a new life, despite his battles with depression.</p><p><strong>John Giolas</strong>: When you went in the mill, the gates closed. And there was no way you were going to get out until the next shift started, and that&rsquo;s when the gates opened. So I always called it a prison.</p><p>While Giolas was working at the mill, he started taking photographs of the other mill workers and their families.</p><p><strong>John</strong>: These guys would say, &lsquo;You do good work, this is your opportunity to get out of here, it&rsquo;s too late for us.&rsquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Lay-offs had started at the steel mill, and things grew worse:<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/giolas with cam cropped.jpg" style="float: right; height: 215px; width: 250px;" title="" /></p><p><strong>John</strong>: I ended up in a pit of steaming water with coke falling off of a conveyor belt, and it was my job as it landed in the water to scoop it up and put it back on the conveyor belt. And on one midnight turn I just lost it, I blew up. I asked the foreman, I said, &lsquo;Where&rsquo;s the gate? I want to leave, I want to quit,&rsquo; and he said, &lsquo;You can&rsquo;t quit,&rsquo; so I stayed there &lsquo;til morning, daylight -&nbsp; walked out of the mill and never went back.</p><p>To find out how what Giolas did next, click on the audio above.</p><p><em>Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/take-job-and-shove-it-108780 Southeast Side: Will new community rise on old South Works steel site? http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/southeast-side-will-new-community-rise-old-south-works-steel-site-107443 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8893544482_980f6847e2_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago velodrome is a place where super-light bikes race at lightning speeds around a steep slanted wooden track. It&rsquo;s on a corner of a sprawling overgrown swath of land along the lake on Chicago&rsquo;s Southeast Side.</p><p>One of the largest steel mills in the country, U.S. Steel&rsquo;s South Works plant, once stood here. The steel mill was the lifeblood of the community. In its heyday it employed 20,000 people and its blast furnaces lit up the sky. But like mills all over the Midwest, South Works struggled through the 1980s to compete with overseas producers. In 1992, South Works was shut down and then demolished.</p><p>This is lakefront property. It&rsquo;s huge, bigger than the Loop. No surprise then that developer Dan McCaffery plans to create practically a new city here: more than 13,000 homes, upscale shopping, a marina, a scientific research park, wind turbines, a charter school.</p><p>&ldquo;When you think about the scale, and the fact that it&rsquo;s been 25 years since that community was basically abandoned, with respect to a job-maker this thing has got enormous potential consequences,&rdquo; McCaffery said.</p><p>The site starts just south of Rainbow Beach at 79<sup>th</sup> Street. It is surrounded by a ribbon of tall chain link fence adorned with colorful banners showing the manicured gardens, chic apartments and happy people that the developers promise will materialize soon.</p><p>But they&rsquo;ve been talking about it for more than a decade, and so far the most concrete improvement is a new extension of Lake Shore Drive stretching for 10 blocks through the middle of the site. The velodrome, which isn&#39;t part of the McCaffery development, is at the southern end.</p><p>Emanuele Bianchi is an Italian immigrant, bike fanatic and the driving force behind the velodrome. He&rsquo;s assembled a team of dedicated riders, and on a Saturday in May he rides a converted German motorbike to pace them.</p><p>Local residents are a little perplexed by the velodrome. Since the steel mill closed, this area has fallen on hard times. Everywhere you look are overgrown empty lots and vacant boarded-up buildings, many of them scarred by fire.</p><p>Locals do not typically ride expensive bikes or wear pricey, tight-fitting cycling outfits. Some enjoy watching the velodrome races. Others see the velodrome as an intrusion, an effort to bring a new class of people to the Southeast Side. It&rsquo;s the way many people here feel about Lakeside Development as a whole.</p><p>Will it bring new jobs and opportunities for local residents, or will it be for other people, a separate and more upscale city where current residents won&rsquo;t feel welcome?</p><p>Mike Medrano grew up and still lives practically across the street from the site. &ldquo;If it&rsquo;s nice, shiny and new, I don&rsquo;t see why they&rsquo;d include us,&rdquo; Medrano said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve never included us in any particular way before, so, you don&rsquo;t have enough people with the education to have the jobs to afford to buy the houses out here.&rdquo;</p><p>Medrano&rsquo;s neighbor Maura Barajas feels the same way. Her son translated. &ldquo;The people that are richer are going to advance more than the ones that are in the middle.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Anyone that feels they haven&rsquo;t been involved or haven&rsquo;t been consulted just hasn&rsquo;t shown up,&rdquo; McCaffery said. &ldquo;Every community you go into you could hold 150 meetings, at the 151&nbsp;meeting someone will say, &lsquo;I wasn&rsquo;t consulted.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>McCaffery&rsquo;s staff leads frequent tours of the site. And on a cold spring day, project manager Nasutsa Mabwa led a large group on one such tour, telling them: &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of passion here, it means a lot to many people, so we&rsquo;re not just the big bad developer coming in to push things around, we really are here to stay and we&rsquo;re working really hard to make sure we listen and involve a lot of different groups and really understand how we can be a good partner and move things forward.&rdquo;</p><p>The bus stopped at the north end of the site and people climbed out to admire the view of downtown. Area resident Evelyn Johnson pulled her coat tight against the wind. &ldquo;My son was eight when I started working at U.S. Steel,&quot;she said. &quot;He&rsquo;s 48 now. If they start a new development, I want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of this&hellip;.It would improve the neighborhood quite a bit, for housing primarily, and then they are going to put in Crate and Barrels, some of the stores they have in the Loop or suburban areas. I think it would be quite a nice development.&rdquo;</p><p>Karen Roothan skipped the tour because she&rsquo;s already been on the site plenty. Since moving here 13 years ago and being labeled the dirty hippie by some neighbors, Roothan has worked hard to build community gardens and cultivate relationships. &ldquo;Meow, oh you&rsquo;re not speaking to me today Mr. Cat, huh? He likes to live in my garage in the winter,&rdquo; Roothan laughed. &ldquo;Now he pretends he doesn&rsquo;t know me. So these are native perennials here, plus a little blown in trash.&rdquo;</p><p>Roothan thinks Lakeside will uproot people like her.</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Are we going to cater to rich people who don&rsquo;t even live here,&quot; she asked, &quot;or are we going to cater to poor people and moderate income people who already live here and are trying to cope? Does it make sense to build a lot of new houses when you have vacant buildings everywhere?&rdquo;</p><p>Bianchi, the Italian bicyclist, thinks new development could have big ripple effects. He&rsquo;d love to see a world-class indoor velodrome on the site. But he&rsquo;s starting to get discouraged: &ldquo;Unfortunately it won&rsquo;t be easily financed because it looks like it&rsquo;s extremely hard to find the companies or institutions that are willing to invest in sports, especially cycling. Everybody says, &lsquo;Oh yeah we can help you but you&rsquo;ve got to find the money.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The biggest question facing Lakeside may not be what effect it will have on residents, but whether it will be built at all.&nbsp;Financing still has not been obtained for even phase one of construction. The city is building a new park along the lakefront, sidewalks and sewers. But a promised $98 million tax subsidy won&rsquo;t kick in until retail space is leased. McCaffery thinks things will really pick up once the Lake Shore Drive extension opens. That&rsquo;s scheduled for September.</p><div id="PictoBrowser130530135135">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "The Southeast Side of Chicago"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157633815674310"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser130530135135"); </script></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/southeast-side-will-new-community-rise-old-south-works-steel-site-107443