Vacant Tinley Park mental health center sold to park district; 90 acres set to be sports complex

Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Vacant Tinley Park mental health center sold to village Park District
Governor JB Pritzker signed off on the sale of land where an old mental health center has sat empty for years to the Tinley Park Park District, which plans to clean it up and repur

TINLEY PARK, Ill. -- An old mental health center that has sat empty for years will now get a new life in Tinley Park.

Governor JB Pritzker signed off on the sale of the land to the Tinley Park Park District for $1.

The land has been an eyesore for years. Overgrown vegetation engulfs an old sign pointing to the mental health center's administration building. For more than a decade, the state-owned and closed facility and the 280 acres of land it sits on has sat vacant as local officials fought over its future use.

"The Park District is going to get it done the right way and that's why we gave it to them," said State Senator Mike Hastings (D-Frankfort).

Hastings led the effort to sell the land for $1. The park district plans to transform 90 acres of the land into a huge sports complex.

Resident Eric Schmidt fully supports the project; he is the father of three boys involved in several sports and also a baseball and football coach himself.

"I'm super stoked about it we have a ton of kids, a ton of teams and not a ton of facilities," he said. "This is great for everybody."

The Village of Tinley Park spent years vying for the land. It was willing to pay close to $20 million for the site and for environmental cleanup. While a casino was once floated as a possibility, the plan was to use the land for mixed-use development.

"The bulk of our taxes we get our from property taxes and sales tax off the industry retail or residential that would go on that property, which we wanted to go there," said Village Manager Pat Carr.

But before anything is built, the property must be cleaned up. The Park District is receiving a $15 million grant for remediation, and has hired the former head of the Illinois EPA to oversee the cleanup.

"There are contaminants that are located on the property, we will be defining looking at and defining where they are at and doing proper removal of them," said Renee Cipriano.

As soon as the land is officially handed over, the park district will conduct an update environmental study. The results will give the park district a better idea of how long the cleanup will take.