Questions Resurface About the Proton Center

October 2, 2011

Village Government

by the Editorial Board

There have long been accusations – which were raised once again by Trustee Tim Allen at the last Village Board meeting – that the previous Winfield Village Board dropped the ball in bringing Central DuPage Hospital’s Proton Center to downtown Winfield, thereby costing the village $450,000 in tax dollars.

Trustee Tim Allen dropped a bombshell claiming that the hospital’s CFO Jim Spear told him privately, as he sat at his dinner table, the real reason behind CDH deciding against building the Proton Center in Winfield.  Allen claims Mr. Spear told him that he really wanted to build in Winfield, adding that “Mr. Spear will still tell you that in private.”  Allen then insinuated that since the Planning Commission, which had originally met with the hospital regarding the Proton Center, lengthened the time between their meeting cycles, that this somehow caused the Village’s failure to secure the facility for Winfield.

This brings to mind one question … If CDH really wanted to build in Winfield, so close to CDH grounds, and if that was truly the best location, would time between meetings at that early stage of discussion really stop the project?

According to Ex-Trustee Cliff Mortenson, who was the Chairman of the Planning Commission at that time, only a few weeks had passed between the hospital’s first contact with the Planning Commission and past Village Manager Bill Barlow’s email on January 4th, 2008. Mr. Barlows email to the Planning Commission stated that CDH had advised him that building in Winfield was simply just not economically feasible for the hospital.

Barlow notified the planning commission that the hospital decided to not build in Winfield after all because an unforeseen problem had arisen over the closeness of the adjacent floodplain, so near the DuPage River, that it would incur “extraordinary costs to protect it.”  Allen ascertains that the hospital had only made this comment in the letter, because “that’s the way a large business that doesn’t want to burn any bridges avoids burning bridges.”  One has to wonder how many bridges trustee Allen burned divulging his private conversation with Mr. Spear seemingly questioning the village boards ability to trust official statements from the hospital in the future.

Ex-Trustee Mortenson, who was in attendance at the last Village Board meeting, was asked to speak to the Village Board and residents.  He said the following concerning Allen’s charges … there was never an opportunity to build the Proton Center in Winfield as it was never brought before the Village Board at any time – neither for a discussion nor a vote.  Mortenson also said that the accusations of a loss to the village coffers of $450,000 for failing to secure the Proton Center is ridiculous and certainly not true.  He said the amount of money that the village would have actually realized from the Proton Center was only $8,000.  Obviously not the $450,000 that Allen continues to claim that the Village lost out on.

If Allen continues to deceive voters with the $450,000 number, one has to wonder what Mr. Spear would have to say about Allen’s claims that the reason the Proton Center was not built in Winfield was because of the time between meetings, as opposed to the troublesome soil conditions that the hospital initially and officially represented to Mr. Barlow.

It’s not hard to understand and appreciate why the Warrenville location was selected when one considers… 1) CDH already owned the sizeable Warrenville property; 2) that that property was an old rock quarry offering a substantial base for the facility; 3) that there is tremendous visibility, (free advertising), and easy access along I-88;  and 4) that there is nearby lodging for patients and their families.

Asking village residents to believe that the time between meetings over the Christmas season causing Winfield to lose the Proton Center certainly seems to be  not only deceptive but highly questionable to say the least.

About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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