State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pleased to see that pressure from local officials has resulted in the State’s decision to finally move forward and sell the Tinley Park Mental Health Center and Howe Development Center properties. The state facilities have sat empty since 2012. They have since developed black mold and exposed asbestos, in addition to housing barrels of chemicals.
“This is an issue I’ve been raising for years, it’s about time something is finally done about it. Not just for the economic value the land could generate for Tinley Park, but the clear health and safety issue these dilapidated facilities pose,” Rep. McDermed said. A state inspection by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Public Health in December 2019 revealed that the conditions of some of the buildings were so bad, inspectors could not enter them. McDermed continued, “despite a CMS “lock down” policy of the facilities, it’s clear that some people have been squatting on this contaminated property.” CMS, or Central Management Services, oversees the property.
In October, despite ongoing talks with the Village of Tinley Park, CMS abruptly said it would not sell the property. Local officials, including Rep. McDermed, continued to contact the administration and even the US EPA to finally deal with the continued danger posed by the unused and unsafe land.
Last week Rep. McDermed attended the latest meeting in Tinley Park to specifically discuss what to do with the property, which has become a blight and an environmental hazard. No one from CMS, the IEPA, or anyone in Pritzker’s administration attended. Outraged, Rep. McDermed immediately reached out to the administration to once again demand that something be done about the 280-acre properties. Later in the week, the administration announced its renewed intention to sell the land.
Rep. McDermed said, “this has been a problem for Tinley Park residents and officials for years. They are prepared to do something about the land, but unfortunately it’s a State of Illinois property and nothing can happen unless the state acts first. This is a great first step, I look forward to working with the administration and Tinley Park to see this land safely cleaned up and turned from an unsightly blot on the village landscape to a revitalized economic development.”