Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Wasting money and history -- tearing down old County Hospital

There's a beautiful old building on the West Side of Chicago that used to house Cook County Hospital. It's vacant now, and needs a lot of work.

The smart thing to do would be to let a developer that specializes in rehabbing big old institutional buildings get into the place, make it into something nice and collect property taxes from it for the next 100 years.

The dumb thing to do would be to knock it down and spend $15 million in demolition costs in the process.

For some reason, Cook County Board President John Stroger wants to do the dumb thing.

And hopefully, at least 9 of the 17 Commissioners want to do the smart thing.

The Near West/South Gazette reports that President Stroger is pushing ahead with demolition, and Commissioner Suffredin continues to lead the charge to save the hospital, as he looks for nine commissioners to hold together and refuse to grant a demolition contract.

Commissioner Quigley said that Stroger and his people always wanted to demolish the old hospital and that the attempts to get developers to submit bids to rehab the hospital was a shell game.

This issue is still very much alive and the Cook County Board should save the hospital and save taxpayer dollars.

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