Joliet approves Silver Cross annexation

Brock A. Stein | 12/27/2017, 10:59 a.m.
Protesters who packed Joliet’s city council meeting at the end of December in order to voice their opposition to an ...
The Joliet City Council has postponed its vote to annex 8 parcels of land near Silver Cross Hospital in to the city. Google maps

Protesters who packed Joliet’s city council meeting at the end of December in order to voice their opposition to an annexation and rezoning plan in Jackson Township overshadowed another annexation plan that also drew protests.

The city council approved a plan to annex 8 parcels of land, just over 5.5 acres, into the city which planners say will help make the former hospital site more attractive for potential re-development projects.

The city had first considered and tabled the plan to annex the land and rezone it for light industrial use in November and tabled the vote again at the beginning of December.

The issue was originally tabled in November after City Council member Jan Quillman asked to look at whether the city can recoup some of $1.1 million spent to spruce up streets and lighting near the hospital in 2007, about 5 years before Silver Cross vacated the site on Eagle Street for a new location in New Lenox. Quillman said that about $366,000 was spent from District 4 neighborhood improvement funds for decorative lighting and about $809,000 for street upgrades.

The new agreement included language that will provide some of the historic limestone from the razed buildings for reuse at other projects in the city.

Ken jaeger, one of the most vocal critics of the plan, told the city council that annexation amounted to “the continued destruction and the future destruction of entire neighborhoods.”

Jaeger opposed the annexation of land north of Route 6 which he said provided a natural, wooded buffer from interstate traffic.

“You can stop Silver Cross from ruining an entire neighborhood by rejecting their request,” said Jaeger who also presented a petition from his neighbors to oppose the changes.

“An entire neighborhood should not have to suffer because they made the very, very poor decision to purchase that property in the first place.”

City officials have noted that water and sewer service for the entire site as well as the 8 new parcels would all be brought under the same city water and sewer service. The 5.5 acres area is currently located outside of the city and is served by the East Joliet Sanitary Sewer District. Roads are currently maintained by Joliet Township.

An attorney for the hospital said that it was complying with a request made by the city and that there are no current plans for redevelopment of the site including the newly annexed land.

In October, the city approved a feasibility study for the creation of a tax increment funding (TIF) district the area around the hospital campus.