ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) --Seniors in the southwest suburbs are fighting a plan to close a health and fitness center.
They say it is the only facility in the area with specialized programs.
The Palos Health & Fitness Center in Orland Park is scheduled to close for good. It is set to be turned into a new medical facility. A group of seniors and those with disabilities describe this construction would be destruction.
There was no holding back about the impending closure of the center at a public hearing held by the Illinois Health Facilities and Service Review Board Thursday.
It's a gym that serves many seniors and people with disabilities.
"This facility is the only facility anywhere that offers specialized programs for all kinds of health issues," said Melanie Mobeck.
Palos Community Hospital wants to close the fitness center this spring to make room for a new outpatient services building. The proposal has to be approved by the review board.
"As the health care provider, the primary health care provider in this community, together with working with Loyola University Medical Center, we have an opportunity to bring primary and specialty together, basically the healthcare of the future," said Tim Brosnan, VP of planning for Palos Community Hospital.
The hospital could still close the fitness center even if the review board declines their proposal for a new medical facility - but the crowd Thursday hoped there is strength in numbers to stop construction.
"I am not surprised by the turnout. I am well aware of how important this is to every single one of those people," said Mary Ellen Smolinski.
The board will meet next month to vote on the proposed project. If approved, construction will start this summer.