Site of former Tinley Park Mental Health Center to be redesigned into massive sports complex

Stephanie Wade Image
Monday, February 26, 2024
Cleanup, renovation underway for former suburban mental health center
The former Tinley Park Mental Health Center site will be demolished and redesigned into massive sports complex.

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Soon, a former Tinley Park mental health center that sat empty for more than decade will transform into a first-class recreation center.

All of the 45 buildings on the 280-acre property will be demolished and redesigned into a massive sports complex.

The bulldozers were out on this bright, sunny Monday and construction is well underway at was once the Tinley Park Mental Health Center.

"It's been such an eyesore for so long. It's nice to see something good happening that will touch so many people," said Joanne Bilecki, who lives in the surrounding suburbs.

Sitting vacant since 2012, the desolate land, decaying trees and dilapidated buildings, where patients once stayed, reflect the aging property.

"Time to tear it down. It's time to redevelop the property and make it into something our community can be proud of," said 19th District State Sen. Michael Hastings.

Hastings led the effort to sell the land to the park district. Local officials fought over its future use for years.

"The park district is the adult in the room when it comes to having a vision. They wanted to put a race track and a casino here. My friends, my neighbors, who live right behind me here, this is where I grew up, do not want that. They want parks. They want recreation. They want opportunities for their families," Hastings said.

Some residents ABC7 spoke with agree.

"For a site that once served the community, it's great that it's going to be a public use for the community to enjoy," said Kevin Daly, who lives in Tinley Park.

Robert Eldridge is another Tinley Park resident.

"The amount of kids in the Southland playing sports, with what it's become over the years, the asset this will be for the kids is incredible," Eldridge said. "Couldn't come soon enough. This is invaluable land for all the kids moving forward and for years to come."

The environmental clean-up has already begun, with crews removing brush and overgrown vegetation to make sure it is safe for residents. The exact demolition details, however, are still to come.

"The property was sold for a dollar, and the $15 million comes from the state for the cleanup. Not costing the taxpayers of Tinley Park the money to purchase, saving millions of dollars on this cleanup," said State Rep. Bob Rita.

As for when this project will be complete, park district officials said they do not have an exact timeline.