Frankfort homeowners who live near the intersection of Steger Road and La Grange Road are campaigning to stop a proposed project from Riverside Medical Center.
Riverside filed an application with the state in November to construct a freestanding emergency center at Steger and La Grange Roads in unincorporated Frankfort. The 10,000-square-foot facility would cost $10.3 million to build.
Silver Cross Hospital has also applied for a competing project at the intersection of Lincoln Highway and 93rd Avenue.
Community members who live near Riverside’s proposed location have expressed numerous concerns about the emergency center. Riverside has owned the property since 2004 and originally intended to use the land for offices.
“This was not what we signed up for,” said Maria Neuhaus, a homeowner from the Vistana subdivision, which is located across the street from the Riverside site.
Neuhaus is not alone in her frustration. At a public hearing to discuss the Riverside project on Jan. 10, 29 people attended to demonstrate their opposition to the emergency center. 41 people attended in support of the project.
More than 100 community members have mailed letters opposing the center and 87 concerned residents signed a petition against the development. 11 have sent letters of support for Riverside.
The campaign against the development includes homeowners in the Vistana, Five Oaks, Gateway, Coquille, Autumn Fields and Homestead communities, according to the Vistana board of directors.
Neuhaus said that Riverside should build in Kankakee County, where its primary medical center is located.
In a stock opposition letter sent by the majority of the letter mailers, homeowners expressed concern that the Riverside emergency center would subject residents to “constant siren noise, traffic noise, major road reconstruction, increased road congestion and diminish [sic] home values.”
However, according to Maggie Frogge, the senior vice president of corporate strategy at Riverside, not all the reasons for opposition cited by the resident campaign align with Riverside’s actual plans for the property.
Frogge said the emergency center would serve an estimated 25-30 visitors per day and that the center’s sole ambulance would service a maximum of three or four patients on a daily basis.
Riverside has not proposed any road construction projects and although the emergency center is required to accommodate a helicopter, Frogge estimates that the center will not facilitate helicopter transports more than once or twice per year.
“We’re not sure what’s rousing up so much opposition,” said Frogge. “We’re prepared to address whatever those concerns are.”
According to Frogge, Riverside was interested in building in Frankfort to serve the market south of the village, between Frankfort’s southernmost communities and Manteno.
Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland said that the proposed center would have no more external impact on surrounding areas than a typical doctor’s office, with the exception that it would be open 24 hours per day.
“An urgent care facility in Frankfort would be a welcome addition to our community,” said Holland.
Despite Holland’s support for the project, homeowners say that Riverside’s freestanding emergency center would duplicate existing services and unnecessarily increase patient transfers.
Three local medical establishments have expressed support for Riverside’s project. Four establishments oppose the emergency center.
Documents provided by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board say that state board standards were not met for either Riverside or Silver Cross to build in Frankfort. Both projects lacked a local need for services, would create duplication of service and were unreasonably expensive, according to the board.
The review board is expected rule on the two proposals on Feb. 5.
Get news alerts and Facebook updates from these Lincoln-Way Patch sites:
- New Lenox newsletter and New Lenox Patch Facebook