December 17, 2021
Dear Governor Pritzker:
My name is John Kieken and I serve on the Manhattan Township Planning Commission. I am also the founder of a grassroots organization called Stop NorthPoint. Our co-founder Ron Adamski is a US Navy veteran and a Trustee for the Village of Manhattan. We are writing to you today on behalf of thousands of citizens in our community who are concerned about the devastating impacts the immense NorthPoint industrial warehouse project will have on Will County and beyond.
The City of Joliet has this proposal in front of them for a hearing on December 21, 2021. Uncovered by my lawsuit against Joliet over a denied FOIA request, they will be taking this 4,000-acre warehouse project under consideration without one single traffic or environmental impact study. As a result of my lawsuit, City Attorney Chris Regis turned over two incomplete documents. One is a “draft” traffic impact study dated April 2020 that Mr. Regis called “obsolete”. Another is a “draft” traffic impact study dated Dec. 2021 that only covers a tiny section of the plan, less than 15% of the total project area. No studies and yet this massive industrial development is by far one of the largest Will County has ever seen.
This gigantic project sprawls along IL Route 53 between the City of Joliet, Village of Elwood, and Village of Manhattan, and will destroy over 15-square-miles. On June 19, 2020, IDOT District 1 Engineer Anthony Quigley stated in an email, “IL 53 would not be able to support a 20 million SF development.” The NorthPoint project is anticipated to bring 40 million square feet of warehousing, which is double what the IDOT engineer stated it could not handle. Furthermore, the last draft study shows that even if we ignore trucks, the full project would generate 3x the number of cars that are presently on Route 53.
Existing traffic conditions in the area are negatively impacting Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Over 500 trucks per year are getting lost inside these hallowed grounds interrupting veterans’ funerals, and some have actually driven over graves. Bringing over 10,000 additional trucks per day to this area is irresponsible and only going to make things much worse. Our veteran heroes deserve better than this.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is the only tallgrass prairie in the country and NorthPoint will be located along its northern border. The diesel pollution and vibration from 10,000 trucks will disrupt the delicate ecosystem including herds of American Bison, our National Mammal, which are living and grazing as part of an historic prairie restoration project at the park. Jackson Creek Watershed runs right through the proposed NorthPoint footprint, where thousands of acres of concrete and asphalt will permanently disrupt natural waterways and carry pollution towards the national prairie and surrounding farmland.
It is unconscionable to think that a public body entrusted to do what is in the community’s best interest would consider approving such a colossal endeavor without the most basic information such as traffic and environmental impact studies. We are asking you, as the Governor of Illinois, to please reach out to officials in Joliet as well as NorthPoint Development and ask them to delay the hearings on this ill-conceived proposal until all proper impact studies have been completed and the public has had ample opportunity for review.
John W. Kieken
Ronald J. Adamski