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Preckwinkle lifts Cook County ban on big-ticket spending

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Chicago Tribune
by Erica Slife

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle lifted her ban on big-ticket spending today, unveiling a $680 million capital improvement plan.

The multi-year blueprint includes more than half the projects connected to the county hospital system.

The county is planning a $92 million jail residential treatment unit, $126 million redevelopment of Cook County Hospital and a $50.2 million expansion of the Stroger Hospital parking garage.

 On Dec. 13, shortly after taking over for former Board President Todd Stroger, Preckwinkle placed a  moratorium on non-essential construction projects.

Today, Preckwinkle criticized the county’s previous construction planning, saying that a number of projects “were underway without any consideration for long-term planning or a coordinated capital plan.”

As such, $88 million projects have been deferred, rejected or reconstructed, according to the new plan. The largest now on hold is a $30 million parking garage in Maywood.

County officials say that property pegged for the renovation is no longer available.Preckwinkle introduced the plan today at the County Board meeting.

It’s expected to be up for a vote next month.

The plan calls for $231 million in spending this year.



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