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*** UPDATED x2 *** Fear and loathing in Itasca

Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Kristen McQueary is absolutely right. Don’t let the NIMBYs win

In the grip of a national opioid crisis that has been destroying families and driving up the cost of health care, controversy over an addiction facility is unfolding in west suburban Itasca.

Residents of the 8,600-plus village are aggressively fighting a proposal to allow a drug treatment center to open in an up-for-sale Holiday Inn. The hotel is confined within a business park off Interstate 290, away from residences. Introduced by Haymarket Center, which is headquartered in Chicago’s West Loop, the facility would provide in-patient treatment for drug addiction aimed at suburban residents on Medicaid.

Opposition in Itasca has been pronounced. But the “No Haymarket” signs poking from lawns around town are symbols of fear, not fact. Residents worry the facility will damage their community. The reality is, the opioid epidemic already has. […]

Rosecrance, another in-patient drug treatment facility network, faced similar backlash when it opened a location in Lakeview, one of Chicago’s more upscale neighborhoods, in 2016. Residents resisted fiercely. But the treatment center opened anyway, and the bulk of complaints since then have been about cigarette smoking near the building. That’s it.

It sometimes feels like fear and loathing is our national pastime.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park)…

Thank you for your support of Haymarket in Itasca. It is time that state and local leaders come together to support this desperately needed facility and the location in Itasca. Between state and county officials we can come together to help address the loss of tax revenue. This will take away the opposition and leave only the hate. We can not let hate win when we have so many people dying from the disease of addiction. Addiction is a disease, not a crime and it does not discriminate.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Rep. Pappas disagrees

Below is my letter to the editor regarding the proposed Haymarket facility in Itasca. Please know that space is limited…

Posted by State Representative Diane Pappas on Tuesday, July 30, 2019


  1. - Tony DeKalb - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    Kristen McQueary being sensible. Down is up, up is down, what’s happening??

  2. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    I live in Lake View and I know where the Rosencrance is. It’s no big deal as far as I know.

  3. - illinifan - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    What gets to me is DuPage County has residential facility in Addison (Serenity House) again located in an industrial area. It poses no problems to the community and provides much needed services. Itasca folks get a grip. This helps many people and may one day help one of your children.

  4. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    There’s definitely a frenzy whipped up there. KM’s description of the area is very accurate. The interaction with residential is less than minimal there. Private Property Rights have taken a real beating over the past couple of decades. Zoning is the newest political hammer in so many places. Ugh.

  5. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    In Springfield I lived across the street from a halfway house for people returning to life as citizens after being in prison. They were the best neighbors I ever had. I’m sure a drug treatment facility would be similar.

  6. - SSL - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    People are afraid of what they don’t know. And they realize it is much harder to get something out of their town once it is in. I don’t think I’d be concerned about a facility in an industrial area, but I don’t live there.

  7. - lakeside - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    Going for positive reinforcement - this is an excellent column by McQueary. It’s written with empathy for those that need treatment, and reassuring words for those concerned.

    =gawking at overdose videos on YouTube==

    I refuse to google to see if this is a *thing*.

  8. - LoyalVirus - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    When the going gets weird…

  9. - WH Mess - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Credit where credit is due: “Kristen McQueary is absolutely right.” (She was much better covering this type of issues for the Southtown. More of this.)

  10. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    I have a co-worker who lives in Itasca and for what it is worth here is their perspective on it. It came up yesterday.

    It is going to reduce the town’s tax revune by over $200,000 a year since the hotel will be closed.

    They have like one ambulance in town (one and a backup that many not be manned), and if two people need an ambulance now in town it requires a mutual-aid call with an obvious delay. I suspect a treatment center would have more ambulance calls than the hotel

    The police department is rather small as well.

    The Itasca Police Department is a highly trained and skilled professional police department comprised of 23 sworn and 5 non-sworn members

    Her concern is the town doesn’t have the public safety infrastructure for it.

    Not my town, but that is what one resident has said to me.

  11. - 100 Miles West - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    The people of Itasca need to understand that the folks in the old hotel are the people who want to get off the addiction train. The addicts they need to worry about are the people already living next door, who are not getting help.

  12. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    The privileged always
    avert their eyes
    hands over their ears

    That’s why they are reprehensible
    They choose cowardice
    They choose inaction
    They turn their back on everyone.

    They choose their own comfort

    We have so many problems
    see and hear
    and most of all

  13. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    One Man, 1. the hotel is for sale. Isn’t it going to close anyway? 2. There will be no medical providers at a drug treatment center? 3.Why does the police department have to be bigger? Aren’t these people trying to stop breaking the law, unlike people who are not in the drug treatment center.

  14. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    Maybe McQuery can help Itasca find the $200k in lost sales tax revenue from a hotel that will now be a nonprofit?
    Why isn’t the County Board offering to help defray long term revenue loss if this is truly a needed facility for the whole county?
    Why didn’t the Trib write anything when Haymarket tried and failed to open a facility in Wheaton?
    Epidemic is right but why isn’t the County, who’s health department and coroner keep sounding the alarm, trying to solve the problem? Why leave it to a small town on the fringes of the County?

  15. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    Itasca is very small and would be a large burden on emergency services. In addition I have been told that Haymarket has been less than forthcoming in statistics on amount of ambulance calls and other issues.

  16. - Montrose - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    “Itasca is very small and would be a large burden on emergency services. In addition I have been told that Haymarket has been less than forthcoming in statistics on amount of ambulance calls and other issues.”

    So, the argument is both:

    1) it will burden emergency services, and
    2) they won’t tell us the burden on emergency services

    It would make sense that a treatment facility would need emergency services at times. I would love to see data that shows if it is more than any other pubic use facility (like a hotel), the same, or less. My hunch is that it is no greater burden than other uses and this argument is being used to cover over other fears that folks don’t like to say out loud.

  17. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    1. State money will come in via Medicaid. 2. Drug counselors and medical providers make more than hotel maids, and the new employees will add to the tax base. 3. Beds will have to be changed so some hotel maids can hopefully stay on. 4. Residents and their families who come to visit will spend money and pay sales taxes.

  18. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    Epic concern-trolling DuPage Bard.

    You bemoan the loss of sales tax revenue, but you want the county public health department to provide these services instead?

    How much sales tax does an empty hotel generate, and do you think the county can provide services at no cost to you?

  19. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    “would be a large burden on emergency services.” And a hotel full of people isn’t?

  20. - Rasselas - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    Any tax-exempt entity buying that building would reduce taxes to the village. Would the residents be just as upset if the purchaser were a church? A hospital? A school? I suspect not.

    And don’t villages charge ambulance runs to the facility? Since the ambulance staff are on-call anyway, wouldn’t more runs be a revenue source, which might even support another ambulance if the need were that great?

    At least some of the residents posting on Pappas’ website are honest - they just don’t want ‘these people’ in their community, where their children ‘may interact’ with some of them.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    It is confusing how @StatehouseChick can Show such compassion here and understand the need… and be the same writer day after day reinforcing her own Katrina like wishes without regard to the humanity.

    Kudos for the thoughtful work here.

  22. - illinifan - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    Haymarket has provided information to the DuPage Opioid Task Force and if persons leave voluntarily the facility would provide transportation to destination which limits dumping. In addition, overdose issues are the highest when shortly after a person leaves treatment so if left and not in local area the ambulance crisis response not needed. This satisfied the Sheriff’s office issue. Also ambulance usage would probably be no higher than the general population since persons there are in treatment and receive medical supervision. It is not a location where people would be using, instead they receive counseling and job services. People in Itasca are looking for problems where they don’t exist due to NIMBY

  23. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    Again, not my town (for example I do think Aurora would be much better equiped to have such a faciliy actually and would be fine with it in an approprately zoned area (we have a large area zoned to allow virtually anything not far from my home))

    One Man, 1. the hotel is for sale. Isn’t it going to close anyway?
    It being for sale doesn’t imply it is going to close, not does it imply that it isn’t profitable, just that it is for sale. Lots of reasons for putting a business up for sale. But let’s say if it wasn’t sold it was going to close, there would still be some property tax revue if not sales tax revenue.

    2. There will be no medical providers at a drug treatment center?

    I can speak to this indirectly, my wife works with intermediate care facilities (the place they send you if you can’t go home after the hospital and are too sick to go to a nursing home), they have ambulance runs to transport people from those facilites to hospitals. It is a bit of an apple to oranges. But this is a facility that is going to have folks inside who have more health issues that a ‘hotel filled with people’ to a degree becasue of the health implications of their aditictions.

    3.Why does the police department have to be bigger? Aren’t these people trying to stop breaking the law, unlike people who are not in the drug treatment center

    That’s an interesting question and I am not sure it is as easy to assume that as it is going to be a significant police user.
    But I will take part of your question to argue ‘perhaps’

    “Aren’t these people trying to stop breaking the law”
    Trying, and they deserve great credit for that, but opiod addiction is a difficult addiction to break and many people relapse multiple times, not due to any weakness of character or effort but because it is a disease. So it seems likely that some portion of the people in treatment may engage in illegal activity in order to facilitate their additication.
    So I am not convinced about the law enforcement risk, but I understand why someone may have a concern.

    Screaming NIMBY at people isn’t going to be the solution here IMHO, has that every really worked in getting local support for anything.
    Addressing the concerns by both sides (hey, we will pay into the Fire Protection District to be a good neighbor and we can look at our usage and pay extra if nessesary so we do not reduce availablity to community as a whole) and the county could certainly offer Sherrif’s support of local law enforcement if that becomes nessesary.
    It would provide a way for this place to open and allow everyone to walk away at least someone statisfied. I suspect the town is getting legal advice that rejecting this is may be a significant legal issue. So meet them halfway and I think everyone is in better shape.

    Again, not my town there are places in Aurora not far from me with a hotel where I think due to the unqiue zoning this could be done tomorrow and I would be Ok with it for a host of reasons, including feeling Aurora had the resources in places to support it without a significant impace.

  24. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    Nice of the Rep to sign the letter that was prepared for her. Real leader. Sheesh.

  25. - SAP - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    ==Any tax-exempt entity buying that building would reduce taxes to the village.== Nope, that’s not how property taxes work. The levy would remain the same. The 8,600 Itasca residents would each pay an average of $23.25 per year in additional property taxes. Actually, that figure is too high, because it does not factor in commercial and industrial taxpayers.

  26. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 5:29 pm:

    One man, you’re right. The hotel could easily be sold and turned into another profit making business that would pay property taxes. A strip mall for example.
    But I don’t think a group of exaddicts on Buprenorphine would need more ambulances like people in intermediate care, even if they raked up some bad chronic diseases. And according to Illinifan Haymarket provides transportation to their residents.

  27. - Enviro - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 5:40 pm:

    Haymarket Center in Itasca?

    Addiction and mental health treatment center - no problem

    Alternative to incarceration program - kind of scary

  28. - Jocko - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 5:48 pm:

    I suspect that Holiday Inn will have had more shady characters/dealings before (and hopefully after) Haymarket were to more in

  29. - bookprinter - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 6:54 pm:

    They need to chill out. Helping people help themselves win win

  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 17, 19 @ 8:04 pm:

    Then why did two country board members say they were lied to based on the presentation from Haymarket originally?

  31. - reasonable fellow - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 7:18 am:

    One topic lurking below the surface here is the real issue of taking properties off the tax rolls and shifting the burden to families and businesses while still using all the services paid for by the taxes. Whether it is a church or a not-for-profit, we need to end the real estate tax exemptions for these properties. Police, Fire, schools, roads, and other infrastructure are all paid for via propery taxes for the most part. Every parcel removed from the tax rolls shifts the burden to the rest of the area. However, those users (churches, not-for-profits) still receive police and fire service, still drive on the roads, and use the infrastructure. The School tax issue is a little more complicated, however, we extend school taxes to all business and industrial properties where no students reside, so it would be fair to spread that burden to all properties.

  32. - Measured Approach - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 7:41 am:

    For some perspective - FOAI-ed info for Haymarket in Chicago showed they had 863 calls to 911 that required a dispatch of ambulance and/or police. On average, Itasca’s 911 call center receives 1,800 calls per year. The Holiday Inn is visited by EMS a handful of times per year.

    Haymarket’s downtown location has 400 beds. Itasca would have 200 or 272, depending on which information provided by Haymarket you review. They do not yet know the mix of detox, inpatient intensive treatment, and recover home beds - so it is hard to say exactly how much higher 911 calls will go. Some discussion indicated Itasca will be mostly inpatient intensive - so about the same number of individuals in that treatment type as in Chicago, drawing similar EMS resources.

    The village passed a referendum last year which was necessary to fund the fire department, it still has two unfilled positions due to budget issues, shares a fire chief with Wood Dale to save money. It only has staff for one ambulance.

    A potentially 50% increase in 911 dispatches is in no way small potatoes.

    I have seen some of the NIMBY comments which are out of line, but please realize there are other people who have a legit concern about emergency services in this community. Haymarket’s only response has been they may hire a private ambulance - but these contract services do not respond to 911 and would just be used for non-emergencies.

    So far, county government insists on this for the county’s good but is not interested in helping defray the costs. Perhaps that is because this program is fir all the collar counties, as stated by Dr. Lustig, the CEO and DuPage doesn’t want to be on the hook for non-residents. Note that state level government also wants the facility but no offer of assistance is forthcoming from those quarters either.

    Now ask yourself why 1$ of DuPage isnt a little mad they are being asked to pay and vilified for even questioning why they shouldn’t be assisted in that.

  33. - Steve Swanson - Chicago - Wednesday, Sep 18, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    The opioid issue is important and needs to be
    dealt with appropriately and properly. What is
    positive about this situation is that it has brought a lively discussion to the fore front.

    Everyone has opinions. The only opinions that
    matter in the entire universe on the Haymarket
    Itasca proposal are 4 members of the Itasca
    Village board (the majority).

  34. - Joe - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 2:38 am:

    They’re raising this fuss about $23.25 a year?


  35. - Frank Torrelli - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    Does anyone know who I can contact to get accurate
    information on this topic?

  36. - Riichard Milller - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    No, this blog is all phoney posts to get money.

  37. - Maria S. - Lakeview - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    Checked into the Rosecrance project in Chicago,
    to compare it to the Itasca project.

    Needless to say that the Rosecrance project
    passed because it was approved by Chicago

  38. - D. Lustig - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    There are two sites that help separate fact
    from fiction for the Haymarket Itasca proposal:—Haymarket-Center-Proposal

  39. - Frank To - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 5:12 pm:

    Thanks for the two web sites. A lot of info there.

  40. - Lee Daniels - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 5:24 pm:

    Media individuals received special compensation
    for inaccurate presentations.

  41. - Jerry Roper - Thursday, Sep 19, 19 @ 5:35 pm:

    Lee, I take it you are referring to Kristen and

  42. - Mike Besch - Friday, Sep 20, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    Does special compensation mean an envelope
    filled with pictures of Benjamin Franklin inside a newspaper?

  43. - Steve Kensch - Monday, Sep 23, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    Current score:

    Itasca: 8692
    Media: 1

  44. - Mike Stinson - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Any updates on this story?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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