Mental Health Center Property Sale Is Moving Forward: State

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TINLEY PARK, IL — State of Illinois officials confirmed Thursday they are planning to sell the Tinley Park Mental Health Center and Howe Development Center properties that have left vacant 280 acres of land in Tinley Park for nearly eight years. A joint statement from Governor J.B. Pritzker and Senator Michael Hastings indicates the state "will secure the third and final appraisal needed by law to offer the vacant, surplus property for sale."

A timetable for when that might occur is not known, and there are no known current plans in the works on the needed cleanup of the property and what it might eventually become. A December 2019 inspection revealed friable asbestos and black mold in all buildings at the site. Also, several barrels of labeled and unlabeled chemicals exist both inside and outside the buildings that have been left vacant since the Tinley Park Mental Health Center closed down in July of 2012.

"After delays spanning several administrations, I’m glad that we are moving forward today to give new life to this property and bring much-needed economic development to the area," Pritzker said. "Tinley Park has a bright future, and we’re proud to partner with local stakeholders to revitalize communities across the state."

The next step at the state level, according to a news release from the state’s Central Management Services department that oversees the property, is to "determine the appropriate fair market value to responsibly manage this portfolio and give new life to this property."

"The State of Illinois works to balance the needs of all properties in order to best serve Illinoisans and maximize expenditures of taxpayer dollars and has been working with local stakeholders to sell this property for nearly seven years."

Hastings said it is the village of Tinley Park that eventually "should control their own destiny when it comes to the economic development of the property."

The property has come under much scrutiny since the results of the December inspection were released following a Freedom of Information Act request made by Tinley Park resident Nancy O’Connor. The area, a significant chunk of land to the northwest of 183rd and Harlem, has been referred to as "280 acres of contamination" by Tinley Park Trustee Michael Glotz and letters sent by both United States congressmen representing Tinley Park, Dan Lipinski and Bobby Rush, have asked for assistance from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in cleaning up the site.

Also, local filmmaker Chris Halper found an apparently abandoned veterans memorial near the Howe Development Center while filming "280 Acres," a documentary he says will provide a deep dive into the history, current dangers and controversy surrounding the property.

010-Inoreader Saves,01-All No Sub,02-Pol,16-Econ,19-Legal,26-Delivered,E Hastings Team

via Tinley Park, IL Patch

March 6, 2020 at 09:38AM

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