CHICAGO (CBS) — In Tinley Park 280 acres have gone to waste, were even trashed. Now there are growing fears that the former Tinley Park Mental Health Center is a health concern. The Village of Tinley Park is pleading with the state to do something to fix up the costly eyesore.
According to the village, they are open to any and all options — if an option is even given to them.
For almost a decade, the empty building in the middle of Tinley Park has shown the passage of time. Graffiti and shattered windows are small problems compared to things that are not visible, such as asbestos and mercury.
“There’s children and houses on the other side that could easily walk into the property. It’s not secured by any fence,” said Paul O’Grady, the village’s attorney.
The state said they have security 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but Tinley Park police confirm they have responded to trespassing calls before. The village alleges trespassers have been caught scavenging for items like copper, but police said CBS 2 would have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to confirm further details.
The building, which opened in 1959, was once a mental health facility. Now the village says it has become a hazard.
Just two weeks ago there was a water leak to the tune of 2 million gallons, which cost the village $17,000 and raised public health concerns.
“The fear is now it’s created a further public safety. If there were a fire to break out along that main, we don’t know what hydrants we can rely on to extinguish a fire. That is very concerning to the fire and police chief, who visited in the last couple weeks,” said O’Grady.
The politics behind the building are just as messy, with the village listing the timeline of grievances with the state, including bringing nearly a dozen health code violations to the state’s attention.
Two years ago there was talk of turning the property into a casino, but that was rejected by the state. Last year, while the state said it set aside $15 million for cleanup, the village said it has not seen a dime.
“Clean it up or sell it,” said O’Grady.
“If they don’t take action, we’re going to be forced to take some type of action ourselves,” said Mayor Michael Glotz.
The city did try to buy the property from the state in 2015, but they could not reach an agreement on the price. The state said it is working quickly to address the issues on the property, including that water main break.
Gov. JB Pritzker’s office released the following statement on the situation:
The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has been working closely with the Village of Tinley Park to identify and quickly address issues at the former Tinley Park Mental Health Center. Safety is the top priority for CMS and the State of Illinois and this site has been locked down since November 2019 as a precautionary measure to restrict unauthorized site access. After multiple inspections by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, no threats to the public have been identified.
Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago
via Syndicated Local – CBS Chicago https://ift.tt/2FyVrp5
May 20, 2021 at 07:00PM