Cook County seeking public input on former hospital site

John Byrne | Tribune reporter, 10:03 a.m. CDT, September 23, 2014 – Cook County officials will solicit ideas from the public tonight as they try yet again to figure out what to do with the old Cook County Hospital building on the near West Side.

The county’s Bureau of Economic Development and the Chicago Architecture Foundation will host the “open forum work session” starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Hektoen Building, 627 S. Wood St.

Four organizations will present ideas for the building, and there will be a workshop to accept ideas from the public, according to a news release from the county.

The County Board voted in March to spend $2.4 million to study ways to reuse the shuttered building, which sits near Harrison Street and Damen Avenue, across from the Stroger Hospital of Cook County, which opened more than a decade ago.

The 100-year-old hospital was boarded up when patients and staff made the move to Stroger. It was originally slated for demolition, but an outcry from architectural preservationists started a long line of efforts to find new uses for the building.

At least $1.4 million had been spent on earlier proposals for the building. Three years ago, plans were laid out to spend $126 million to put office space in the structure for use by the Cook County Health and Hospitals System but that plan didn’t go anywhere.

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