Commissioners spare Cook County Hospital
Thursday, November 10, 2005
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter
The hulking, historic facade of the old Cook County Hospital building appears to be safe from the wrecking ball -- at least for now.
County commissioners agreed Wednesday that, for the time being, it should not be ripped down -- a decision they probably won't seriously revisit until after their March primary election.
But the commissioners did vote to demolish four buildings around the old hospital that would allow for the addition of 1,760 parking spaces. If the decision is finalized next week, it would bring sweet relief to those who have circled the new, neighboring Stroger Hospital, trying in vain to find a parking spot.
Wednesday's move comes after a $1.4 million study recommended demolition of all old buildings around the new hospital complex.
It 'needs to be demolished'
Board members collectively thanked Commissioner Larry Suffredin for leading the fight to save the old hospital, but also took note of President John Stroger's continued stance that it be demolished.
"We're happy the campus plans are moving forward and the main part of the hospital building is safe . . . for now," said Michael Moran of Preservation Chicago, which opposes the teardown of the old hospital. "We'll see what happens after the election."
Suffredin conceded the old hospital can't be used as a hospital again, but he said "I'm extremely optimistic" it can be used as a pharmacy, an office or for clinic space.
Stroger, however, said "the old hospital needs to be demolished."