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Should the Cook County Use a Portion of Oak Forest Hospital as a Cemetery?

A Cook County plan calls for burying the poor and indigent in a 5-acre section of the hospital.

A Cook County commissioner has proposed a plan that would reserve a 5-acre portion of the former Oak Forest Hospital as a county cemetery.

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey (D-Chicago) has put forward a proposed plan that could save the county $180 million and satisfy burial needs for 100 years, Sun-Times Media reports.

The burial of indigent and unclaimed bodies would be handled with more dignity under this proposal, Fritchey said.

On Tuesday, Sun-Times Media published an editorial endorsing the plan for the section of the hospital property:

Eventually the land might have been used for something more profitable, but we can’t think of many uses more necessary.

The editorial goes on to state that the county had "stumbled" in its duty to ensure dignity for the poor and should act quickly to approve the new cemetery.

In August, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted to convert into a 24-hour regional urgent care facility. The hospital houses more than 600 beds.

Do you think this is a good use for part of the Oak Forest Hospital property? Tell us in the comments?

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Laura Beall May 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM
There used to be a potter's field cemetery located there called Cook County Cemetery, so I see no reason why they couldn't use part of the property for that again.
NANCY GRACE May 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Is this Oak Forest property?
Julia May 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM
St. Gabriel's Cemetery is already there which are pauper's graves so why not just use it? Duh.....
Darnell May 17, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Sure,,why not! I can see know reason anyone should object! Better use for it than vacant strip malls that can't be filled. They've been trying to sell a parcel for almost 4 years and there's no takers. This will also conserve the land as it is now. The indigent need a respectful and peaceful place to be buried.
Nick Swedberg (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM
@David—I agree. It's hopefully a way to treat the indigent with respect.
Renee O'Connell May 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM
St. Gabriel's Cemetery has been filled for yearsssssssss!!! In view of Cook County Morgue having had over 300 bodies stacked in the morgue last year, it only makes sense to use the property for that purpose. God forbid that any of us should pass without family or friends and would be waiting months to be put to rest. I would vote yes for this.
tmo121 May 18, 2012 at 07:35 AM
When you die and your family and friends mourn you are put to rest at that time. Your soul goes to heaven and at that time the body is worthless. Why do people spend so much money to bury what becomes detiorated bones? Pictures, videos, cards, and memories are priceless. Cemeteries are pricey. Everyone should rethink how the passing of a loved one should be handled. The answer is not a useless cemetary.
Rizzo May 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM
This land where the proposed cemetery would be located belongs to the Cook County Forest Preserve. This land formally transferred in November 4th 2009. http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2009/11/cook-county-board-signs-off-on-transfer-of-176-acres-at-oak-forest-hospital-to-forest-preserve-distr.html The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was formed in 1914. Their mission statement is " To acquire and hold lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna, and scenic beauties within such district, and to restore, restock, protect and preserve the natural forests and such lands together with their flora and fauna, as nearly as may be, in their natural state and condition, for the purpose of the education, pleasure, and recreation of the public." Building a cemetery there does not fulfill this mission statement. Building a cemetery there is a contradiction as it would not be "restoring, restocking and protecting" but rather building an unsightly cemetery with an unnatural mowed lawn with digging and burials that would continue for a proposed 100 years. If a cemetery is to be built, it should be built elsewhere. If the county wants their own cemetery, it should be on other county owned land.
Darnell May 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM
WOW! Vacant land,,a MERE 5 acres, sitting unused, not sell-able, being proposed for a humane purpose and people object? No wonder our nation is in the state it's in! Seriously! Screw it then,,just put up another HUGE strip mall and lets ALLLL watch it sit empty. Then you will all have something legitimate to whine about! I'll be happy to serve you some cheese with that whine also! EMPTY HEADS!

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