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County sees sleds as toboggan alternative

Friday, February 11, 2005
Daily Southtown
Editorial

Cook County officials decided this week to keep the forest preserve toboggan slides closed for the winter to save money. They also voted to spend $10,000 on a study that would identify spots in the forest preserves that could be turned into sledding hills, which they believe would be easier to maintain, less costly and safer.

Commissioner Carl Hansen (R-Mount Prospect) said it would cost $871,783 to operate the toboggan slides, so he proposed the sledding alternative as cheaper and safer.

Creating some new sledding sites in the forest preserves is an interesting and worthwhile idea, but we urge officials to continue looking for ways to maintain the toboggan slides and keep them open. In particular, the Swallow Cliff toboggan slides in Palos Township have been for many years a popular recreational site, and they would be again if the county board would do the job it was elected to do — maintaining and operating forest preserve facilities.

Estimates of the cost of keeping the toboggan slides open continue to rise almost every year. That's in part because county officials persist in postponing annual maintenance projects. Repairing damage at the slides would be costly, but delaying maintenance and allowing the slides to go unused year after year is a sure way to grow the cost of maintaining them.

It's beginning to look as if the county board will never be able figure out a way to keep the toboggan slides operating. It's time for the board to seriously pursue a private operator who can take over operation of the slides — at least at Swallow Cliff — and show the county how it should be done.

Making the forest preserves compatible with sledding is a good idea, but as Commissioner Forrest Claypool said Wednesday, sledding should be a complement to toboggan slides, and shouldn't be viewed as an alternative.

 

Cook County officials decided this week to keep the forest preserve toboggan slides closed for the winter to save money. They also voted to spend $10,000 on a study that would identify spots in the forest preserves that could be turned into sledding hills, which they believe would be easier to maintain, less costly and safer.

Commissioner Carl Hansen (R-Mount Prospect) said it would cost $871,783 to operate the toboggan slides, so he proposed the sledding alternative as cheaper and safer.

Creating some new sledding sites in the forest preserves is an interesting and worthwhile idea, but we urge officials to continue looking for ways to maintain the toboggan slides and keep them open. In particular, the Swallow Cliff toboggan slides in Palos Township have been for many years a popular recreational site, and they would be again if the county board would do the job it was elected to do — maintaining and operating forest preserve facilities.

Estimates of the cost of keeping the toboggan slides open continue to rise almost every year. That's in part because county officials persist in postponing annual maintenance projects. Repairing damage at the slides would be costly, but delaying maintenance and allowing the slides to go unused year after year is a sure way to grow the cost of maintaining them.

It's beginning to look as if the county board will never be able figure out a way to keep the toboggan slides operating. It's time for the board to seriously pursue a private operator who can take over operation of the slides — at least at Swallow Cliff — and show the county how it should be done.

Making the forest preserves compatible with sledding is a good idea, but as Commissioner Forrest Claypool said Wednesday, sledding should be a complement to toboggan slides, and shouldn't be viewed as an alternative.

 


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