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Lawsuit Seeks To Block Construction Of New Children’s Memorial Heliport

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Chicago Police helicopter (Credit: CBS)

Chicago Police helicopter (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Citing safety concerns, a new lawsuit seeks to prevent Children’s Memorial Hospital from opening its long-planned heliport atop its new home in Streeterville.

The lawsuit comes just months before the long-planned Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is set to open.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports, the new hospital is scheduled to open in June of next year at 225 E. Chicago Ave., replacing the current Children’s Memorial facility at Lincoln and Fullerton avenues and Halsted Street in Lincoln Park.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports

The lawsuit was filed by SOAR, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The group is seeking to have a judge reverse the October ruling by the Illinois Department of Transportation that approved the heliport.

The group says IDOT failed to consider all safety questions, and was biased in favor of the hospital before approving the heliport.

SOAR claims the heliport lacks emergency landing sites in the neighborhood, and that a planned escape route would result in helicopters crashing into the Water Tower Place, Crain’s reported.

The planned helipad has been drawing criticism from neighbors ever since it was first proposed in 2006. Neighbors in the high-density community were concerned about noise and safety.

But IDOT approved the helipad, which will sit atop a 22-story hospital wing.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has also come out in support of the planned helipad.

“I personally am in favor of it because it’s the appropriate thing to do for a modern, contemporary hospital,” Emanuel said last week, “and I think it’s the right thing to do, because that hospital not only serves our neighborhoods and our communities and our children, it’s a landmark hospital in the five-state region that serves kids all over the place.”

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