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Old County Hospital one of a Kind

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Chicago Defender
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Your story about how much it has cost taxpayers to maintain the vacant Cook County Hospital (“Down the Drain,” Dec. 7) was very misleading.

You cited a $12.1 million figure for building maintenance since December 2002, when the new Stroger Hospital opened.  However, that truly stunning figure was based on average monthly costs of $400,000, rather than the actual $29,000.

The current $29,000 per month figure provides round-the-clock building security and routine maintenance.  In contract, $400,000 was the operational cost for several hospital buildings, when they were still linked to a central steam heating plant.  When that power plant was replaced last year, those costs were eliminated.  To suggest that this $400,000 has anything to do with the effort to preserve Cook County Hospital is simply wrong.

If you would like to uncover the real “waste” of this project, please take a look at why county officials have not pursued the reuse of this one-of-a-kind structure.

A recent study commissioned by President Stroger notes that the former hospital building is still structurally sound, readily adaptable, and there is a need for medical office space.

Not only would this solution preserve a beautiful and historically important structure, but it would solve some of the chronic office space problems on the hospital campus.

David Bahlman
President
Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois



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