TINLEY PARK, Ill. – Tinley Park leaders are saying “enough is enough” and want to clean up or sell an abandoned former mental health center.
Around two weeks ago, there was a water leak at the property and there was concern about pollution and contamination of nearby wells.
There is now a renewed effort to put pressure on the state to fix what residents are calling “dangerous.”
It sits just northwest of Harlem Avenue and 183rd Street. Each year, the facility has fallen further into disrepair.
“After closing it in 2012 the state hasn’t done a thing with it except let its conditions get worse,” said Mayor Michael Glotz.
The state offered to sell it to the village back in 2014 for $4 million, but that was before an environmental study showed it would have taken at least $12.4 million to clean it up.
“What we want them to do is clean it up or sell it,” Village attorney Paul O’Grady said.
For the last 20 years, deals have fallen through to turn the former site into luxury apartments and a casino.
After the water leak, the village said it had enough. They worry about environmental hazards like asbestos and black mold getting into the nearby water system.
““What we’re most concerned about is some child wandering in there falling into the ditch going into these abandoned buildings,” O’Grady said.
The state said it no longer wishes to sell the property. In February, a bill was introduced in the state legislature that would authorize the State Department of Central Management Services to transfer the property to the village at fair market value to be developed.
“It will likely cost $15 million dollars to make that site development ready,” Mayor Glotz said.
The bill has not moved. The next step could be litigation, which would cost taxpayers even more money just to fight their own state.
Read the state’s full statement below.
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.