More room at West Sub means more danger for neighbors

Opinion

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It was just a bit more than a year ago that the sound of gunshots rang out from the entrance of the West Suburban Emergency Room as a man was brazenly murdered by gang members. This following a dangerous chase through Chicago streets to the very doorstep of Oak Park.

Wednesday Journal suggests in its editorial supporting the expansion of West Suburban that a new ER built on beautiful green space may be good for Oak Park because, "that would bring hospital facilities closer to residential neighbors." As a Taylor Avenue resident, let me just say, no thanks. I was already near enough to hear the blasts. A new ER 200 feet closer to my home doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

In Dan Haley's article in the June 29 issue, we heard more pro-expansion talk from Wednesday Journal ("West Sub planning new ER; could expand or build new," June 19). Even praise for West Sub CEO's Jay Kreuzer's promises to keep neighbors informed of plans. Of course, this couldn't be further from the truth.

For years the hospital has paid little attention to the concerns of its neighbors on issues ranging from major development to parking accommodations for hospital staff. Their latest act of misinformation was a terse one-page letter informing neighbors that they would be tearing down a historic building on the land in question in just two days! They had no permits, no village approval, and gave no opportunity for discussion to the public. Are these the actions of a good neighbor?

The residents of Taylor and Humphrey Avenues don't think so. The East Central Neighborhood Association has now been formed to represent the views of people affected by the expansion and to protect our safety and property values. Meetings have been held, websites are in development and the community is getting organized.

West Suburban Hospital may be Oak Park's largest employer and flush with $73 million dollars to spend, but if they plan on bringing more trouble into our quiet neighborhood, they can expect a fight.

Grady Hinsche
Oak Park

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