Aldermen Abandon Olympic Village Casino Idea

Mayor: Hospital site should be affordable, market-rate housing

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    Shortly after Mayor Richard Daley on Friday put the kibosh on any talk of turning the area intended for the Olympic Village into a casino and theater complex, the two aldermen that made the proposal backed down.

    The idea was floated a day earlier by Alds. Richard Mell (33rd) and George Cardenas (12th).  They argued that the land at the near South Side site of the abandoned Michael Reese hospital is ripe for development.

    But realizing it would be futile to move forward without the mayor's support, Mell and Cardenas abandoned the proposal.

    A few years ago, Daley pitched the idea for a city-owned, privately operated casino, but ruled out residential neighborhoods, Navy Pier and Northerly Island.

    But he said the area of Michael Reese hospital should be turned into affordable and market-rate housing, the Chicago Tribune reported.

    "I don't know why everbody is going around thinking casinos is the answer to all the problems of society,"  Daley said at a City Hall news conference on Friday.  "Even without the 2016, it was never a concept of any type of casino or anything like that."