Park Ridge, hospital parking deal rolls ahead
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:09AM
PARK RIDGE — Park Ridge is reaffirming its healthy relationship with a local hospital in the form of free parking.
The City Council is backing the extension of a financial support agreement that allows Advocate Lutheran General hospital to pay a flat rate for parking services in lieu of the city issuing a tax.
Initiated in May 2010 the arrangement provides the hospital flexibility to not charge visitors for parking, according to acting city manager Shawn Hamilton.
Under the updated agreement, effective Dec. 17, 2012 through April 30, 2014, Lutheran General would continue to issue its monthly $50,000 contribution toward the salaries and benefits of city Fire Department paramedic staff.
The funds, allocated through the city’s general fund, may also be used to support a community heath professional if such a staff position is created.
Mayor David Schmidt praised the efforts of hospital administration and staff, specifically President Anthony Armada and Community and Health Relations Director Paula Besler, to meet the city’s needs as well as promote wellness and health locally.
He said at the same time the hospital had initially sought to provide free parking services, the city was facing a budget crunch, prompting a fee hike to increase hospital parking revenue from $400,000 to $600,000.
The hospital stepped up and struck a win-win agreement, he said.
“They didn’t have to do it this way,” Schmidt said. “It may have been a problem for us, but instead they made it easy.”
“We should thank them.”