HARVEY – February 15, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) and city of Harvey officials to announce the start of the clean-up and demolition of the old Dixie Square Mall in Harvey. Today’s announcement marks the first phase of the broader economic development of the site, which was the site of the famous car chase scene in “The Blues Brothers” movie 30 years ago. The clean-up and demolition project will support a total of 42 jobs, which include 18 newly-created full-time jobs.
“The demolition of the Dixie Square Mall will help revitalize the local economy and create much needed jobs,” Governor Quinn said. “Although we will always remember the Dixie Mall as the location for one of the most iconic scenes in ‘The Blues Brothers’ movie, it is time for this now vacant building to be torn down to make way for more economic development for the Harvey community.”
Announced by Governor Quinn in 2010, the state has provided a $4 million federal grant to SSMMA, on behalf of the city of Harvey, to assist with the clean-up and demolition of the Dixie Mall, including asbestos removal. As part of a larger economic development plan for the site and surrounding area, this project will enhance public safety by removing a dangerous, abandoned structure that requires constant attention from local law enforcement. The clean-up and demolition project is expected to be completed by late summer 2012.
“Now that demolition and clean-up of the vacant mall have officially begun, the city of Harvey and the state can finally move forward with plans for economic development of the site and surrounding area,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley. “This project and subsequent redevelopment plans will help bring jobs to the Harvey area.”
The funding for the clean-up and demolition comes from federal "IKE” disaster recovery funds. The IKE recovery program is named for Hurricane Ike, the 2008 disaster that was one of the costliest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States. Illinois received a total of $169 million in federal disaster funds under IKE to assist communities within 41 Illinois counties in recovering from devastating floods and storms in 2008, and minimize the impact of future disasters. The IKE-Community Stabilization component of the program supports projects like the Dixie Mall cleanup and demolition that can achieve significant economic and community stabilization and revitalization.
“Today’s event signals not only the beginning of demolition and cleanup of the Dixie Square Mall, but the opportunity that it provides for new economic development and jobs,” said Ed Paesel, executive director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association. “This initial investment of grant funds made by Governor Quinn and supported by our state legislators and the federal government, is critical to Harvey’s future.”
Future projects may include retail and/or light industrial, as well as housing on or nearby the existing site. The 39-plus acre property was once a commercial shopping center, once served as a location for the "Blues Brothers” movie. It was recently condemned by the city of Harvey due to health and safety concerns over the stability of the structure and the presence of asbestos.