East Chicago rising from shadows of West Calumet to promising future

EAST CHICAGO — West Calumet had recently become a symbol of things that were wrong with this steel city.

It was the site of the U.S.S. lead refinery depositing toxic chemicals into the land, water and air until environmental regulations forced its closure and a Superfund declaration said it should be cleaned up some day.

A public housing project was built over it. The children of its tenants played in soil dangerously contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Three years ago, 1,000 tenants were evacuated from the site.

There is a new enthusiasm about the site’s potential. Mayor Anthony Copeland wants to rise from the shadows of West Calumet.

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