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posted: 10/12/2013 5:00 AM

Oasis demolition shows failure in planning

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Among other things, Illinois taxpayers expect its elected and appointed leaders to plan responsibly for our future. The announcement that the Des Plaines Oasis on the Jane Adams Tollway is to be destroyed suggests these leaders have failed taxpayers and tollway patrons once again.

Why do I assert a planning failure? First, the Herald reports that the oasis must come down to make way for widening of the tollway and for construction of the "Western Bypass" around O'Hare Airport. Second, roadway widening and the construction of this bypass have been in the works for at least two decades. These likely projects were neither a secret nor a surprise.

Third, knowing that road widening and a bypass (and demolition) were inevitable, the Illinois Tollway Authority, nonetheless, spent $94 million to replace and remodel its oases, including the Des Plaines Oasis, in 2003-2004. The state took money from outside leaseholders to fund most of the project; and now, $9.3 million of what was taken then will have to be paid back to the Des Plaines Oasis leaseholder.

Thus, less than 10 years ago millions were spent upon a structure that was known to be targeted for demolition because known road improvements would be made. That's just foolish! Think how much more foolish it would have been if the timetable for the construction of the bypass and road widening had called for an earlier start on these projects (which it should have -- but that is another story).

I guess we should be grateful that only millions -- and not billions -- have been wasted by our "planners" in this particular case.

Charles F. Falk


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