The Following Is The Evolving History Of The Dixie Square Mall.
After Two Years Of Intense Research Compiled By Literally Hundreds Of People, This- As Such -Is What
We Do Know. If You Have Additional Information To Contribute, That Can Be Validated, Please Send An
Email To The Address Below. (Updated 4/2006)
Meyer C. Weiner begins negotiations with the City of Harvey to acquire 60 acres of land. Weiner & Partners desire the
land to build a state-of-the-art indoor shopping mall.
After three years of negotiations, Weiner gets his wish and purchases 60 acres of land in Harvey for his project. It is at
this time that Dixie Square Shopping Center, Inc. takes possession of the land. Initial published figures at this time
indicate the structure will cost $12 Million to build. This estimate will prove just that, an estimate, as the final cost is
Interesting to note: The final plans for the build include preserving several trees present on the golf course. This was
actually done and when the mall opened much mention was made of the parking lot area in the news papers. Described
as a "Pleasant" & "Garden Like" by The Chicago Tribune, an entire paragraph was devoted to describing the parking
area in a August 1966 article.
March 26, 1964:
It is announced to the press that the Harvey City Council will approve the re-zoning of property in Harvey to allow the
building of the shopping mall. "Dixie Hi", a 9 hole golf course which had fallen into disrepair, is chosen as the perfect
site because of easy access to the highway system and because it is centrally located in Harvey. Surveys conducted by
Meyer Weiner and Montgomery Wards Inc. are the key factors in placing this project in Harvey and at the golf course
The City Council also votes to annex the property. Approx 60 acres of land are annexed into the corporate limits of the
As part of the planning process, Dixie Square is to be open to the public "after hours". It is never revealed what
additional hours of operation were to be put in place, but initially the mall was to be open to "browsers"- after security
gates were down and stores closed- so the general public could view store displays, and stores themselves, fully
illuminated. This was described as "After-Hours Window Shopping in Air-Conditioned Comfort". There is no rock-solid
information that this was ever put into action.
November 19, 1964:
Walgreens signs a lease, literally described as "Long Time" (not "Long Term"), for a spot at Dixie Square.
Meyer C. Weiner (Developer of Dixie Square) & Richard Daly (Chicago Metropolitan District Mgr. Of Montgomery Wards
Store) break ground for the Wards store.
Montgomery Wards opens to the public.
CONSTRUCTION STATISTICS & INFO
Construction In 1965:
Architects: Hornbach & Steenwyk (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Constructed By: William H. Metz & Associates, Inc.
Incorporation Principals: Meyer C. Weiner, Tobert E. Fryling & Abner Mesirow
Total Building Area: 780,567 feet
Total Rental Area: 700,467 feet
Total Enclosed Mall Area: 71,100 feet
Cost For Construction: $25 Million
Glass Service Inc. (East Chicago,IN)-
Provides all the aluminum and plate glass installations. Unique only to Dixie Square at the time was the installation of black glass in
extremely sunny locations to reduce glare and heat in the summer.
Johnson-Meier Co. (Chicago,IL.)-
Provides ornamental ironwork throughout Montgomery Wards.
Titan Ornamental (Chicago,IL)-
Provides ornamental work for JC Penney as well as the rest of Dixie Square.
Fettes,Love & Sieben (Chicago,IL)-
Provides plumbing facilities to the 60 merchants at Dixie Square.
One of the more unusual tasks taken on by the company was the installation of 3 fountain pools within the mall. Special pumps were
installed for water circulation and the fountain displays.
Provides all of the faux plants inside the mall. Polyethylene plastics imported from France, Germany & Japan are used to create the foliage.
Stig Brodin, architect and horticulturist from Sweden, plans the tropical displays to exactly match their natural habitats. The use of fake
plants inside Dixie Square is decided upon because of the difficulty of maintaining live plants inside the enclosed mall.
Ravenswood Tile (Skokie,IL)-
Provides all of the decorative & standard tile throughout Dixie Square.
Ravenswood Tile was responsible for the tile work done in the original Palmer House in the 1920's.
Edward Hines Lumber Co. (Chicago,IL)-
Provides all of the lumber, plywood & finished paneling to the mall.
Reliable Sheet Metal Works Inc. (Chicago,IL)-
Provides all sheet metal, ventilation and air conditioning systems for Dixie Square.
Triangle Sign Co./Luminous Sign Company (Chicago,IL)-
Provides the 60 foot tall Dixie Square sign that greets visitors at the main entrance to the parking lot. The sign is so huge it can be seen
from the Illinois Tollway & the Calumet Expressway. The sign is illuminated by fluorescent lighting and is maintained by Alvin Linstrand
employee of Triangle Sign.
Engler-Meier-Justus (Oak Lawn,IL)-
Provides suspended ceilings & drywall for the mall.
S.G. Hayes & Co. (Harvey,IL)-
Provides the asphalt that comprises the 4,200 space parking lot of Dixie Square. The lot is designed so that not one allotted space is more
than a short walk to an entrance of the mall.
M. Ecker & Co. (Chicago,IL)-
Provides the mall's interior decor. At the time, the company was the largest employer of Journeymen Painters in the Chicago area.
Schuham Hardware (Chicago,IL)-
Provides every single door lock, hinge and doorknob inside the entire mall.
Olson Co. (Chicago,IL)-
Provides the roof that covers more than 628,000 feet of enclosed mall space.
A unique feature of the roof installation is the use of a new type of zinc alloy called Hydro-T. Hydro-T weathers to a fine slate grey and never
May 19, 1965:
Joseph Giovegno, of Frankfort, returns to his car after shopping at Montgomery Wards to find a newborn infant girl has
been placed on his front seat. Giovegno rushes the 7 pound infant to the South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. The
infant is not harmed and Harvey Police seek out the Mother.
August 31, 1966:
A Presentation Opening takes place. A huge mall-wide sale is in effect until Sept. 3.
At this time 36 stores are open for business. Singer Mel Torme officiates the opening. Several other guests, which are
not present at the Grand Opening are featured. The automobile "The Leslie Special" from the movie "The Great Race"
is on display courtesy of WCFL radio. Construction is still underway at this time. This kind of Presentation Opening,
commonly referred to today as a "soft opening", was done to get the word out about the mall.
Construction is completed. Grand Opening celebrations set for Nov. 10-11-& 12th 1966.
November 9,1966 (Wed.):
A full day before the Grand Opening celebrations, the mall is dedicated by the Mayor of Harvey, Dixie Mall President
Meyer C. Weiner and mall Manager Orlando Segneri. A 75 year time capsule is installed at the entrance to the
Montgomery Ward Court (15201 Dixie Highway).
November 10 (Thurs.), 11 (Fri.) & 12 (Sat.):
Dixie Square's Grand Opening kicks off.
The following stores are open for business:
Baskin Robbins, Carousel Hosiery, Claire's Hat Shop, David's Shoes, Dixie Optical Company, Famous Beauty Salon, Fanny May Candy,
Ginn's Tie Shop, Hallmark Cards, Hardy Shoes, Harvest House Restaurant, Dr. D. Ozberg O.D., Hickory Farms, Karroll's Mens Wear, Le
Petit Cafe, Lilyan Ladies Apparel, Mother Maternity Fashions, Neumode Hosiery Shop, Patio Popcorn, Robin Hood Shoes, Singer Sewing
Center, Stuart's Woman's Wear, Tedd's Ladies Sportsware, Wurlitzer, The Bombay Shop, Gina's, Kinney Family Shoes, Model Mother,
Richman Brothers, Whitney's, Woolworth, Dixie Shoe repair, Lehner's Barber Shop, Mary Lester Fabrics, Rogers Jewelers, Armand's
Restaurant, Burt's Shoes, Cocktail Lounge, Dixie Music Store, Howard's Family Apparel, Jewel Food Store, Jody's Cotton Shop, Robert
Meyer Corporation, Walgreen Drugs & Liquors, Watland Camera, Montgomery Ward & JC Penney.
A US Post office is also located in the North parking . JC Penney's Auto Service is located North of 152nd st. and
Montgomery Wards Auto Service is just North of 154th st.
Parking for 4,200 automobiles is available.
Mall Hours in 1966 were:
Some of the events during the 3-day grand opening were as follows:
Dixie mall President Meyer Weiner gives away a week for two vacation to Pine Point Resort in Elkhart Lake, WI.
Illinois Bell Telephone & Northern Illinois Gas have huge displays on hand providing info on what these two utilities "can do for you!".
Walgreen's gave away a color television.
Homer & Jethro gave a free concert to customers at 9:15pm in the Dixie Court on Nov. 10th.
Uncle Ned Locke from "Bozo's Circus" entertained the kiddies from 1-4pm on Nov. 12th.
February 2, 1967:
The United States Postal Service opens one of it's brand new Postal Stations that never close at Dixie Square.
February 26, 1967:
Greenbaum Mortgage Co. announces it has placed a $8,280,000 mortgage with a group of seven insurance companies
for Dixie Square Mall. The group collectively is known as WILCO.
August 10, 1967:
The Village of Park Forest puts the blame on it's 20 percent decline in retail sales on Dixie Square & River Oaks. Park
Forest Plaza, the town's main shopping district, sees customers drawn away by the two new shopping centers. Prior to
Dixie Square & River Oaks being built, Park Forest Plaza drew customers from both areas. Park Forest entertains
raising the City Sticker fee to $2.50 to help make up for a loss of some $40,000 in the first quarter of 1967.
October 5, 6 & 7 1967:
The first in what is now known as "Dixie Square Coupon Promos". For 3 big days shoppers could take advantage of
tremendous savings by clipping coupons out of local papers and cashing in. A common promotional tool even today,
Dixie Square seemed to have trouble with it from the start. The advertisement for this event includes a coupon for a
store that wouldn't open for 3 more months (Panel City) and Penneys & Polk Bros. both offered outstanding deals on
45rpm records. Penneys had them for 77 cents and Polk Bros. for 49 cents. Promos such as these generally benefit all
shop-keepers at a mall, offering non competitive items to draw "all" customers in. Dixie Square had not yet mastered
this device, and never did, as they unfortunately offered several more like it over the next 11 years.
After a hugely successful first year, with revenue exceeding 40 million dollars, President Meyer C. Weiner announces
the addition of a 3rd department store anchor to Dixie Square. This is the first mention of what would become Turn
Style. Provisions are also made and announced at this time to include a movie theater and multistory office structure at
Dixie Square. Neither of them are ever built.
November 2, 1967 (Thurs.):
For 10 days Dixie Square celebrates it's first anniversary. A series of local concerts performed by local musicians takes
place every night. A Wurlitzer concert takes place on November 7th in the Penneys court that draws such a huge
crowd,music lovers are seated as far back as "La Petite Cafe"..hundreds of feet from where the actual music is being
A 1968 Buick Skylark (provided by Bauer Buick) is given away and Bozo The Clown himself is on hand to entertain the
kids on Saturday November 11th at 1pm. Bozo, a huge hit with Chicagoland kids, gives out autographed photos for what
has been documented as 5 hours straight....4 hours beyond his scheduled visit to the mall.
Dixie Square also stepped it up a notch on the vacation give-away for the first anniversary. A 6-day trip for two to
Miami, Florida was collected by some lucky customer.
A scheduled visit by Hockey great Bobby Hull draws such a huge crowd mall security is overwhelmed.
The polite fans wait their turn for autographs as Hull himself stands up and announces.." If I have to stay here all night
I'm gonna' sign every autograph". According to personal accounts, Mr. Hull made good on his promise.
September 21, 1968:
68 year old Ethel Rothman, of Harvey, is killed by a hit & run driver in the parking lot of Dixie Square.
Mrs. Rothman had just parked her car, opened the door, and stepped outside when another car hit her dead on.
Harvey Police later found the vehicle abandoned. Nobody was ever charged for death of Ethel Rothman.
WILCO expands Dixie Square by more than 100,000 square feet when construction begins on Turn Style. Turn Style is
completed and opens in 1970. This brings Dixie Square to over 800,000 square feet of enclosed mall.
April 22, 1969:
Using a helicopter, the Illinois State's Attorney Police arrest two men in the parking lot of Dixie Square. The charges are
selling pornography. The two men arranged the sale of 120 rolls of film containing pornographic material filmed
somewhere in New York City. The two had been under surveillance for some time when they arranged a meeting to sell
the film to an undercover vice cop.
As they sat in their car at Dixie Square, swarms of police descended on them in autos, on foot and in a helicopter
borrowed from the State Police.
The heated race for Mayor of Harvey pits James A. Haines, elected in 1967, against newcomer Leona Cunningham
Meade. Meade, Mayor Haines only opponent, makes the fact that the West 154th Business District has lost most of it's
customers to Dixie Square her main campaign focus.
Meade and Mayor Haines both agree on that topic, Dixie Square has decimated downtown Harvey.
While Meade is giving interviews for local news papers, Mayor Haines flys off to Washington DC and acquires the first
round of Federal Community Development Funds. Mayor Haines defeats Meade without problems. Mayor Haines
retains his position until 1983, the same year those Federal Funds run out. Harvey will see no more Federal Funds of
this kind after 1983. It is unclear what the funds where ever used for.
November 15, 1972:
Ruth Erwin, 27, is fatally shot with a high calibre bullet in a botched robbery attempt. Erwin was on her way to Dixie
Square when 4 male youths approached her car at 148th & Robey. After one male attempted to reach through the
window another shot through the windshield of the car hitting her in the neck. Erwin died shortly after the incident at
Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey. The 4 youths were caught and convicted.
April 20, 1973:
William Goodwin, a 28 year old Engineer with ComEd, is fatally shot during a robbery. Goodwin's body is found next to
his pickup truck on the East side of the mall. Goodwin's wallet is missing. The only witnesses to the murder are several
small children whom the Harvey Police describe as "unreliable".
July 16, 1973:
13 year old Kim Harwell, of Kankakee, visiting friends in Harvey, visits Dixie Square to shop for a swimsuit. The young
girl is lured away from the mall by 3 teenage girls (ages 13 14 and 15), tortured, strangled to death, and left lying in a
closet in a one story building at 15329 S. Hoyne Ave. Harvey Police grow frustrated while interviewing the 3 girls as they
offer no explanation as to why they murdered Kim.
November 7, 1973:
Harvey Police field several calls from concerned citizens as several UFO's are spotted in the sky over Dixie Square mall.
For 40 minutes the unidentified flying objects are spotted over Hazel Crest & Homewood and eventually hovering right
over Dixie Square.
May 5, 1974:
World Famous Flagpole Sitter Richard Blandy falls 50 feet to his death at Dixie Square.
Blandy was just minutes away from ending his 3 day long perch atop his customized flag pole in the parking lot of the
mall. In 1965, Blandy set a world record by staying up 60 feet in the air for 78 days in Stockholm, Sweden.
June 19, 1974:
Senator Adlai Stevenson, on the invite of the City Of Harvey, tours the Dixie Highway business district (including Dixie
Square). The hope is that Sen. Stevenson can help acquire Federal funding to improve the highway and sidewalks
which would help revitalize Harvey's business district.
Stevenson, accompanied by Illinois Gov. Walker, take the tour but no additional funds are made available for such a
project for many,many more years.
At the start of the year Dixie Square Mall had only 20 tenants.
After eight short years at Dixie square, with one of the largest stores in the entire chain, Turn Style goes out of
business. This is not due to Dixie Square's woes but rather a Corporate decision from Jewel/Osco. Jewel/Osco closes
all of it's Turn Style locations. They are inhabited by, rather quickly, Venture Stores. All that is, except the Dixie Square
January 25, 1978:
JC Penney closes it's Dixie Square store. "Sharply declining sales and profits" is the reason given by R.C. Sherwood
Penney's Area Manager. Dixie Square Penney's 150 employees are offered positions at other area malls. Penney's
only holds out this long because they are waiting for their brand new store at Orland Square to be completed. A full
year later in January 1979, Penney's holds a "Dixie's Last Gasp" (the actual wording in the advertisements) sale where
outdated merchandise, mannequins and display cases are offered for sale to the public.
The main mall finally shutters it's doors after 12 years in operation. A high crime rate in the area along with newer
shopping centers in safer areas is the reason given for the closure. After spending an astounding 1 million dollars on
mall security during the period from 1976-1978, management can no longer provide safety to it's customers nor theft
protection to it's tenants. They file for bankruptcy protection.
November 23, 1978:
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association, providing facts for an article in The Chicago Tribune on wide spread theft at
several shopping malls, states that in 1977 alone $130,000,000 worth of merchandise from Chicago area shopping
malls had been shoplifted or stolen by employees. The IRMA also states that "Dixie Square had to close down because
of these losses- there was no way they could make it up".
Dixie Square is given to Harvey-Dixmoor School District 147. The main crux of this land donation is that the School
District pay the estimated $800,000 in back taxes and mortage payments due on the property.
The School District uses Dixie Square as a temporary school for two years while a new school building is being built.
The Turn Style department store is used as a gymnasium during this time.
Walgreens & Jewel still operate their stores at Dixie Square (both had outside entrances). By the Spring of 1979, both
close up shop.
July 23, 1979:
Universal Pictures leases the mall for Director John Landis' "The Blues Brothers". The mall is refurbished only to the
point of what will be on camera. Deals with stores, many of which never existed at Dixie Square (example: "Toys R Us"),
are reached to give the look of an active shopping mall. Some residents believe, due to a rumor, that the mall is to be
re-opened right after the filming. The source of this rumor is never pinpointed, but there was never any deal with
Universal Pictures, Director John Landis or anyone else involved with filming the movie to provide any funds to open the
mall. It was simply used as a movie set. Nothing more.
June 22, 1980:
"The Blues Brothers" opens to average reviews but is an instant hit with the audiences, taking in well over $4 million
dollars opening weekend. It will go on to gross $57,229,890 in the United States alone. It was followed by a sequel
released in 1998.
December 17, 1981:
Although no deal was ever made to re-open Dixie Square, a deal was made between School District 147 & Universal
Studios to "return the mall to it's original condition after filming". The School District files a lawsuit in Federal Court
seeking more than $87,000 in damages from Universal, sighting among other things, that "ceiling tiles, door locks,
windows & lighting fixtures were damaged and never replaced".
Good Friday, 1982:
Several Church groups, comprising about 75 people in total, take the message of the lord to the streets of Harvey.
Stopping at Dixie Square, the spokesman for the group said "We cry out against the disinvestment in this community
and the resulting desolation it leaves in our economy and spirit".
At the final stop of the Good Friday tour, the group descended on The First State Bank Of Harvey.
Richard Taylor, chairman of the housing committee of the Harvey Human Action Community Organization, prayed that
bankers could come up with creative financing arrangements to prevent foreclosures on homes of people that have lost
December 9, 1982:
Former Harvey Mayor (1963-1967) Elmer C. Turngren passes away at the age of 70.
Turngren had been essential in bringing Dixie Square to Harvey.
When he left office in 1967 he was presented with an oil painting depicting what had been accomplished during his term.
The painting included the Harvey Municipal Center, the Water Tower & Dixie Square Shopping Center.
Turngren's Father, Arthur, had served as mayor of Harvey from 1943-1959.
"It was something he was very, very proud of following his Father in doing" Turngren's wife Dixie was quoted as saying.
November 25, 1983:
Harvey Mayor David Johnson holds on to hope that a handful of developers, who have all provided colorful drawings
along with land use proposals, will revitalize Dixie Square. All of these "Developers" either are yanking the chain of the
City Of Harvey or have good intentions but lack the money it would take to execute their plans.
Thousands of dollars in Federal Community Development funds have been used on courting Developers by this time, so
much so, that by 1983 Harvey has depleted it's share. The Feds will no longer supply money for the development of the
property. Optimistic in a news paper interview, Mayor Johnson says of the possible re-development of Dixie Square
"We could increase our tax base which would take the burden off of homeowners and also bring jobs to the community".
This same statement would be made by the men who would succeed Mayor Johnson
over the next 20 years.
Some of them meant it, others obviously did not.
1984 - 1985:
In 1984, teenage vandals break into the mall and destroy every last pane of glass within it. Up until this time, the mall
resembles what it looked like when the"Blues Brothers" film production left. Dixie Square's lone caretaker, Jack Barton
(employed by The City Of Harvey to clean out years of garbage that was dumped there by Harvey residents) looks after
the mall. He occasionally provides tours to developers and news paper columnists but tends to focus mostly on riding
the building of it's garbage. By 1985, every last piece of metal worth anything has been stripped from the mall. Even
the copper fittings for the mall's fire hoses had been stolen.
Raymond Eaves lures Denise Shelby into the JC Penney store. There he rapes and murders the woman. Just 3
months prior, Eaves had been arrested and charged for raping another woman in Harvey and before that, had lured a
mentally disabled girl to Dixie Square where she was then raped as well. During his 1997 trial, prosecutors described
the ordeal and recounted how it took Eaves 4 minutes to strangle Shelby to death.
39 year old Raymond Eaves was sentenced to life in prison on October 17, 1997.
March 18, 2000:
Throwing his support behind Presidential candidate Al Gore, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. organizes a march from
Dixie Square to Homewood-Flossmoor High School in hopes of drawing attention to the need for a 3rd airport in the
Chicagoland area. Jackson hopes to revitalize Dixie Square, and Harvey itself, by backing a 3rd airport in the area.
The 3rd airport has been the center of heated debate in the City of Chicago and the state of Illinois for over 20 years.
Much like the many proposals for Dixie Square, a 3rd airport in the area is not likely to happen.
November 10, 2002:
An announcement is made that the former JC Penney store will be leased by the state to house offices for 5 state
agencies. The plan also includes the demolition of the rest of Dixie Square. The state backs out of the deal in the end.
April 14, 2004:
Former Harvey Mayor David Johnson, along with Diversified Regional Development Group,Inc., expects to be given the
property during a special meeting of the City Council. DRDG plans to use the land for housing, retail space and Govt.
offices. DRDG is the same development group involved in the ill-fated 90's proposal to turn the site into a
"Transportation Hub". DRDG needs City Council approval to take possession of the land before they secure financing.
They get the approval, but never get the financing. Johnson, who obtained $325,000 for Harvey to conduct a "study" on
the "Transportation Hub", lost the Mayoral race in 1995 and has since pitched several plans for the land use. None of
them ever panned out.
The "Transportation Hub" idea is listed, using this exact description, on the Transportation Research Board website:
TRANSPORTATION ACTIVITY CENTER. RESEARCH IN PROGRESS
Abstract: This project will provide funding to finance a study of the feasibility of integrating transit with commuter rail for the City of Harvey
through the development of an intermodal Regional Transportation Activity Center at the Dixie Square Mall.
The project addresses policy directives as dictated by ISTEA and the Federal Transit Act.
Contract/Grant Number: FTA-IL-26-7005
Total Dollars: 325,000
Source Organization: Federal Transit Administration
The Harvey City Council approves a special land use permit to allow for the construction of two senior housing
complexes to be built in the parking lot of JC Penney. The YMCA is given the property by the City to construct 2
buildings with 60 living units each. The estimated cost for each building is $7.5 million. The YMCA announces they will
break ground on building #1 in October 2004. To date, no ground has been broken nor any construction started
on this project.
American Kitchen Delights is granted ownership of the former Montgomery Wards store. AKD plans to use the space as
a warehouse for storing equipment. Days after taking ownership of the store, work crews begin gutting the inside of
Huge piles of debris are pushed inside the main entrance of the mall and into the parking lot just outside the store.
AKD operates out of Harvey,IL. and makes meals for airlines. One year earlier, AKD recalled some 5,190 pounds of
beef brisket contaminated with Listeria. The infected product was all shipped to Arizona.
January 30, 2005:
Gathering at the South Suburban YMCA, Harvey officials and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., celebrate the deal for
the senior housing center and name the buildings "The Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Senior Center". Mayor Eric Kellogg praises
Jackson as a "lawmaker who constantly fights for legislation to improve the lives of his constituents".
Kellogg also announces he plans to propose to the City Council a motion to name a stretch of road after the
congressman, and another after his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
John Deneen, developer, announces plans for a $74 million dollar redevelopment of Dixie Square Mall.
Deneen is quoted as saying "the project could generate 1,500 new jobs for the citizens of Harvey". Deneen also
mentions that 800 construction jobs will be created to build the new complex and several top-tier stores such
as--Costco, Kohl's and Old Navy-- have already expressed interest in building stores at the location.
April 21, 2005:
Over 100 Harvey citizens turn out hoping to secure work tied to the redevelopment of Dixie Square during the launch of
Mayor Kellogg's new Office Of Employment. The excitement of $74 million being spent on the property draws those
ready to work at any job that will be available.
With redevelopment of Dixie Square on the fast-track, fencing is erected around most of the property.
Less than 2 months later, most of it has been driven over or ripped down.
June 7, 2005:
Acting on a tip from a concerned citizen, the Illinois EPA investigates the site for illegal dumping of construction debris.
GM Demolition of Thornton is identified as having dumped more than 20 cubic yards of construction debris at the mall.
"Construction demolition debris" is a term used by the EPA to define asphalt, concrete and other building materials.
At this time it is believed that none of the debris dumped by GM is hazardous. The IEPA conducts routine tests on the
debris dumped by GM as well as the debris pushed outside the mall by American Kitchen Delights during the gutting of
Montgomery Wards some 6 months earlier.
June 23, 2005:
The IEPA announces that debris from the Montgomery Wards store has tested positive for asbestos.
June 27, 2005:
Developer John Deneen attends the scheduled Harvey City Council meeting. Deneen is to present a check for
$500,000 to Harvey for the purchase of the mall. Deneen gives an update on the project which is no stalled because of
the asbestos issue. Deneen is grilled by one Alderman as to how much Deneen knew about the asbestos. Deneen
visably is irate and states that the asbestos issue is something he knew about from the get-go. It is also during the
Council meeting that Deneen mentions 2 Grocery stores interested in obtaining space at the mall but makes no further
mention of his "top-tier" stores he boasted about in early April. Deneen predicts that the asbestos situation will be
resolved in 2 weeks and the project will proceed forward.
June 28, 2005:
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan files a lawsuit against American Kitchen Delights, it's owner Shanawaz Hasan of
Libertyville,IL. & The City of Harvey. The six-count complaint charges the defendants with numerous violations of the
Illinois Environmental Protection Act. The IEPA and the Illinois Department of Public Health slap a "cease & desist" order
on any further demolition at Dixie Square. This grinds any kind of progress on the site to a screeching halt. AKD &
Harvey will have to answer to the allegations and both the IEPA and the IDPH must be satisfied with the proper removal
of the asbestos throughout the entire structure before any demolition will be allowed to continue.
June 30, 2005:
Responding to the lawsuit, American Kitchen Delights President Shanawaz Hasan vows to clean up the mess and bring
the renovation in line with the IEPA's demands. It is also revealed at this time that AKD began gutting the Wards space
without any permit from the City of Harvey. In an interview with The Star, Hasan said "We are working with the IEPA as
well as with the city to finalize these things and get it over with, We don't have any problems with cleaning it up."
August 28, 2005:
After two months since the IEPA determined no work could be done at the mall until the asbestos was safely removed,
very little was happening on any front. Developer John Deneen had all but vanished. A story in The Star on this day
quotes Alderman Crudup as saying "All we are waiting on is the title". Harvey officials were apparently looking very hard
to locate the title to the property, which one could assume, had been lost somewhere. Developer Deneen would have to
see that all of the asbestos was removed before he could begin demolition/construction. He would also need to
purchase the property in order to perform those tasks. He will also need the title to the property to purchase it.
Alderman Crudup adds "I was hoping we could (start) anywhere from a week to a month, We're looking good for
September 15, 2005:
Harvey gets ready to close a deal with Joe Letke, an accountant from Homewood, on a $20 million dollar housing
development & shopping center across the street from Dixie Square. Letke hopes to lure Subway & Starbucks to the
development. Letke has a check for $175,000 as a down payment on the property and awaits City Council approval on
the land redevelopment deal. It is expected to be discussed during the September 26th Harvey City Council meeting.
Letke's firm also happens to be the City of Harvey's accountant.
With September half over, there is still no word from Harvey about the title, the Dixie Square project or the lawsuit filed
by the Illinois Attorney General. The mall still sits, as it did the day of the "cease & desist" order. No progress has been
made on cleaning up the asbestos. Thick plastic sheets have been draped over the massive debris piles both inside
and outside the mall. Warning signs about the dangers of asbestos adorn the mall as well.
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over time, that the name (outside of domain registration), logo and likeness thereof is in the public domain.