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Committee to find new uses for Fisk, Crawford land

A new committee put together by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to find new uses for land currently held by two local coal-fired power plants slated to close in the next two years.

Last February Midwest Generation agreed to shut down its Fisk plant, in the Pilsen neighborhood, and its Crawford plant in Little Village. Advocacy groups and community activists had been fighting for the closures for a decade.

Nelson Soza is a member of the new committee, and heads the Pilsen Alliance. He won't say what's been talked about in the meetings, but he said everyone seems to have similar goals of what the land could be used for.

"Certainly we want something that's hopefully will replace the jobs that are going to be lost, we want these to be green jobs or healthy jobs at least," Soza said.

Soza said he doesn't want the spaces to become future shopping malls, and housing is also likely off the table.

The committee also includes additional community members, a representative from Midwest Generation, two aldermen, one representative from labor, one representative from ComEd, and one economic development representative from City Hall. The group will be scheduling public hearings within the coming weeks to get community input.

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