EAST CHICAGO | Residents of the city's Marktown neighborhood came to the East Chicago City Council meeting Monday hoping the board might help delay the demolition of 10 properties in the neighborhood.
The homes have been bought by BP and are set for demolition May 5.
Longtime Marktown resident Kimberly Rodriguez spoke on behalf of a group of residents, some holding signs that read "Save Marktown Stop BP."
"This is our neighborhood and we want it restored, not torn down," Rodriguez said.
She said BP only gave residents a 20-day notice and that more than 1,500 signatures have been collected asking BP to not tear down the properties.
"We call upon the Common Council to pass a historic review board ordinance, so that Marktown and hundreds of other historic buildings in East Chicago can be preserved to reflect the unique heritage of East Chicago," Rodriguez said.
East Chicago resident Thomas Frank attended the meeting as part of the Save Marktown group and said it would like a 90-day extension before demolition starts so residents can assess and respond to the situation.
"There's plenty of brownfields and industrial lands around BP," Frank said. "They don't need to expand into a neighborhood, especially a historic neighborhood."
Nobody representing BP spoke at the meeting.
The Marktown neighborhood is in the city's 5th District, represented by Councilman Rosendo Cuevas.
Cuevas said further discussion is needed between residents and BP.
He posed with one of the "Save Marktown Stop BP" signs after the meeting but said he ultimately wants whatever the majority of Marktown residents decide as far as the preservation of the area.
"I want what the constituency wants," Cuevas said.