Thousands oppose massive trucking facility proposed for small Illinois town

ELWOOD, Ill. -- A large crowd packed the Elwood Planning and Zoning Board meeting Tuesday night.  The board planned to vote on a proposed truck transfer facility, said to be three times the size of Midway Airport.

In and around the Will County community of Elwood there's been an explosion of growth in recent years from people to property.

If the proposed Compass Business Park by Kansas City-based Northpoint Development gets approved, it's going to see plenty more. At 2,200 acres, critics they say it would effectively use up any remaining open space in the Village of Elwood.

Over 2,000 area residents from two townships are petitioning against the development, organizers say. Those against the plan, which could accommodate 53,000 vehicles per day, say it could create a traffic nightmare along Interstate 80.

Stephanie Irvine is a member of a local group called "Just Say No to Northpoint."

"The project would be right up to my back property line along with my neighbors," Irvine said. "I think it boils down to me — and for a lot of other people that are opposing the project — is that it would significantly impact our quality of life."

Northpoint naturally disagrees, saying the business park plan is putting forward incorporates a "comprehensive" approach that includes resident feedback on the coming and going of trucks, a closed loop of roads that pose no risk to the village or taxpayers. The company says it will also make a $600 million first half investment that will bring in $87 million to the Village Elwood, local schools and taxing bodies. And 1500 jobs during construction and 15-000 full time jobs when completed.

But opponents aren't buying it and say the existing center property already brings too many trucks through the area that are supposed to be off limits in the first place.

Opponent Delilah Legrett thinks Northpoint should look to existing warehouse vacancies and leave them, their quality of life and their property values alone.

"For me to have the light pollution, sound pollution, air pollution in my backyard with my 4 children there is no amount of revenue to counteract that," Legrett said.