HARVEY – September 23, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $4 million federal grant to assist with clean-up and demolition of the old Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, which has sat idle since production of the famous car chase scene in “The Blues Brothers” movie 30 years ago. The project is part of a larger economic development plan for the area.
“The Dixie Square Mall was the location for one of the more iconic scenes in ‘The Blues Brothers’ movie, but it has sat vacant and unused for over 30 years since then,” said Governor Quinn. “In the decades since the filming, this building has fallen into disrepair, and is no longer useful or safe. Today the city of Harvey can finally start tearing this building down in order to convert this site into something that will provide an economic boost to the community.”
The funding, which will pay for the demolition and clean up of the site, comes from federal "IKE” disaster recovery funds. "IKE" will provide a total of $169 million in federal disaster funds to help 41 Illinois counties that were declared eligible as a result of widespread flooding in 2008. The IKE "Community Stabilization Program" supports projects like the Dixie Mall cleanup and demolition that can achieve significant economic and community stabilization and revitalization.
The federal grant will go to the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA), on behalf of the city of Harvey. The clean-up and demolition, including asbestos removal, will be the first phase of a broader economic development plan for the site and surrounding area. It will enhance public safety by removing a dangerous, abandoned structure that requires constant attention from local law enforcement.
“The biggest obstacle in commencing redevelopment of this site up to now has been the prohibitive cost of demolishing the vacant mall,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “Now that we have community stabilization funding to move forward with demolition and clean-up of the site, the City of Harvey and the State can realistically pursue opportunities for economic development and job creation.”
“This is not only a great day for the city of Harvey and its residents, but also for the entire south suburban region thanks to Governor Quinn’s announcement of funding to clean up the blighted Dixie Square Mall,” said Ed Paesel, executive director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association. “This provides a tremendous opportunity for economic development in the city of Harvey, and it would not have been possible without this funding provided by the state and federal governments.”
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, but has been vacant and abandoned for more than 30 years since serving 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.