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Daley Asks for Nearly $100 Million in TIF for U.S. Steel Plant

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Daley Asks for Nearly $100 Million in TIF for U.S. Steel Plant
Daley Asks for Nearly $100 Million in TIF for U.S. Steel Plant

Alex MacLean, UIC Imagebase

An aerial photograph of the South Works Site, taken in 1996.

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Mayor Richard Daley on Tuesday asked the City Council to approve more than $95 million to rehabilitate the former site of the U.S. Steel South Works plant, which has been vacant since its closure in 1992.

"It's a wonderful piece of property," said Daley, who hopes to turn the site into a housing and shopping development.

The mayor acknowledges there are environmental problems with the nearly 600 acre site, but said the Tax Incremental Funding would go to help clean the property.

"We're very excited," said Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), who campaigned for the U.S. Steele site as one of her platforms in her 2007 aldermanic election.  "It's long in coming."

Using a TIF, the city would take out bonds to be repaid using property taxes generated by the development, the Chicago Tribune explained.

Political observers are noting the development puts Daley and Jackson working together in an unusual truce.   It wasn't that long ago that her husband, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., seemed to be on a path to oppose Daley in the 2011 mayoral race.  That was before Jackson was linked to the selling of Barack Obama's senate seat. 

And while Jackson has not been charged with any wrongdoing, there are lingering questions as to how far his supporters went to lobby former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Jackson's behalf.

Ald. Jackson on Wednesday said she supports Daley for re-election.

"If he is with me on this, I'm with him," she said.

The proposal is now with the city's Finance Committee.  If approved by the full council, Phase 1 of construction would begin in 2013 at the earliest.

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