East Chicago residents protested Tuesday as demotion crews tear down a second structure in historic Marktown, a community built in 1917 by a Chicago industrialist. On Monday, the historic hotel came down. BP, which surrounds the neighborhood, purchased ten homes including the hotel from one owner and plans to make the property a green space and parking lot.
"We are attending a funeral right now. They are tearing down our community and it is very sad," said Juan Laureano, Marktown resident.
There are 300 residents in the community and 200 homes, with 25 percent unoccupied. Resident Kimberly Rodriquez says everyone knows everyone. She believes BP does not have their best interest at hand.
"They don't care, they do not care we are historic, they have their own agenda," said Rodriguez. "I don't see everyone being bought."
"We are working with homeowners and land owners who voluntarily chose to sell and we pay fair market value for their properties, many which have been vacant for several years. We are not attempting to force or coerce homeowners out of their homes. Fifty property owners have made contact with BP expressing an interest in exploring the possibility of selling their property," said Scott Dean, BP spokesperson.
"This is a very special place, it's a magical place, it's historic, why wouldn't they want to save this place? It doesn't make any sense why BP, a British company, would want to tear down an English Tudor style village, it does not make any sense," said Laureano.