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Vacant Hospitals Are the New Neighborhood Battlegrounds

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Michael Reese. Lincoln Park Hospital. Edgewater Medical Center. To outsiders, they probably sound like innocent wellness centers, but to locals they're among the most controversial vacant buildings in Chicago. Just before Lincoln Parkers are set to square off on the proposed adaptive reuse of the Lincoln Park Hospital, a similar debate is raging in Edgewater over the fate of a different abandoned hospital, at the corner of Ashland and Hollywood. Over the weekend, the Chicago News Cooperative profiled the Edgewater Medical Center, which has sat vacant for nine years. Neighborhood groups want to tear it down and replace it with a park, but Ald. Patrick O'Connor says there's no money for that, estimating that the teardown and park construction would cost $20-$30 million. "I mean, who doesn't want a park? It's silly that there are people in the neighborhood who think we want to build something else other than a park," said O'Connor, who has gone on record saying that he personally wants a park.

However, last month he told the Trib that official assessments favor replacing the vacant hospital with a mixed-use condo development. That, of course, is the last thing neighborhood residents want (and probably the last thing Edgewater needs right now). Chris Swan, VP of the West Edgewater Area Residents, said he'd prefer to see the abandoned hospital stay put than for it to be replaced with another large development.
· A Dangerous Eyesore Endures, Hostage to Financial Concerns [Chicago News Coop]
· Edgewater to Get a New Park? [Curbed Chicago]