Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.

The fight to reopen Swallow Cliff slides must continue

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Daily Southtown

The issue: New report says cost to repair the shuttered Cook County toboggan slides has increased dramatically.
We say: The forest preserve district must study all of its options and find a way to reopen the slides. Despite the report's gloominess, it appears there are several practical alternatives. The slides -- particularly Swallow Cliff -- are too valuable an asset to remain closed.
Trying to reopen the popular Swallow Cliff toboggan slides in Palos Township has been an uphill battle. But we're not giving up the fight, and it's good to see the local Cook County commissioner, Elizaeth Doody Gorman, isn't either.
The latest development concerning the slides' fate occurred last week when a new report showed that fixing and reopening Swallow Cliff and the county's other slides would cost $3.7 million. That's $2.2 million more than previously had been estimated.
After months and months of debate about the slides, the only thing that's been accomplished is that the costs have gone up.
The report laid out prices for several options. Repairing just the six slides at Swallow Cliff would cost $1.3 million. Removing the Swallow Cliff slides and the eight others throughout the county would cost about $900,000. Refrigerating the slides to allow them to be used all winter -- not just on days when the snow is deep enough -- would be $21.5 million. And landscaping the massive hill at Swallow Cliff for sledding would be about $320,000.
Slides introduced kids to the wonders of forest preserves
The report noted that traditional toboggan slides are disappearing in many areas because variable weather conditions don't always make their existence practical. From 1998 to 2004, the Cook County slides were open only 44 times, earning just $54,927. The condition of the slides has kept them closed since 2004.
That the slides were allowed to deteriorate to the point of being shut down speaks volumes about the way Cook County government has operated. The slides, on the days they were running, were one of the Cook County Forest Preserve District's most popular attractions and served to introduce kids of all ages to the wonders of the forest preserve system. But rather than make our ulcers worse dwelling on past mistakes, it's best to look to the future.
There have been discussions about possible year-round uses for the slides. Gorman, of Orland Park, is trying to keep that idea alive and noted the existence of an Astroturf-like surface that could make the slides useful in all seasons. That's an idea worth exploring. There has been talk of refrigerating the slides to keep them operable more often or even using a snow-making apparatus, similar to what ski resorts use to stay open in winter, but those options appear to be too expensive.
The county has considered privatizing the slides and other recreational features, another idea that should continue to be studied. A private company may be wary of taking over decrepit toboggan slides, so it might be worth it for the county to fix the slides and recoup the cost through their sale or a cut of the revenue a private company can generate.
Looks like money is available in forest preserve treasury
We also believe the forest preserve district shouldn't give up just yet on the idea of repairing and running the slides itself. With what money? you ask. Well, the Todd Stroger administration didn't think twice about moving $13 million from the forest preserve surplus of $22 million into the county budget recently. Obviously, there's money in the kitty. And a lot more could be had by cutting the obvious wasteful spending in the district and fixing the recreational features well enough to be able to justify charging reasonable revenue-generating fees.
The bottom line is the Swallow Cliff slides need to be reopened. There appear to be several ways to accomplish this. But disinterested leadership and excuse-making won't help the cause. We realize there are many matters that need attention in county government, but one of the forest preserve district's missions is to provide outdoor recreation. Swallow Cliff should be the district's signature feature.

Recent Headlines

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.