Hybrid medical center proposed in Lyons
Site on Ogden Avenue would serve veterans and general public
By Steve Metsch
Vacant land where a longtime restaurant once stood in Lyons won’t remain empty very long if a podiatrist’s plan takes shape. And, if things work out, nor will the land across the street where the village hall once stood.
Dr. Victor Caterino wants to build a medical center on the southeast corner of Gage and Ogden avenues. He owns the vacant lot that was once home to Alphis Steak House. The medical center would be a hybrid of sorts, open to veterans and civilians.
On the southwest corner of Gage and Ogden, where the village hall once stood until its recent demolition, Caterino hopes to build a surgical center.
Caterino, 59, who has a practice at 5700 Cermak Road in Cicero, discussed his plan at a recent meeting of the Lyons Village Board. It was warmly received by village officials.
Mayor Christopher Getty said the key is making sure Caterino has the necessary financing in place.
“That’s the big hurdle. How do you finance this? It’s a large-scale project,” said Getty, who is enthusiastic about the plan.
“It all started with his talking with Dawn Campos, our former clerk,” Getty said.
Caterino confirmed that when he told his idea to Campos, a patient of his, she asked “why don’t you go to Lyons?” Caterino didn’t know then that she was the village clerk. He originally hoped to build the medical center in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, but the more he thought about it, the more he liked Lyons.
Lyons Village Manager Tom Sheahan said the plan “would be a jewel for our community.”
“We’re excited. We’ll continue to work with him to see the project through to fruition,” Sheahan said after the meeting.
Sheahan called the location ideal for a medical center.
“It’s very convenient. There’s a good traffic pattern on Ogden Avenue it’s a couple minutes from the (Stevenson) expressway and a few minutes from Harlem Avenue,” Sheahan said. “It makes a lot of sense to us.”
Caterino, a veteran who served in Iraq, said veterans are the reason why he’s doing this.
“I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it for the veterans. It’s not a money-making project. My accountant tells me it will be an accounting nightmare doing a non-profit. I told him ‘that’s why I pay you’,” Caterino said.
“My attorney told me to work for a few more years, then retire. I have a 6-year-old at home. I can’t retire,” Caterino said with a laugh.
The center would offer medical services for veterans along with civilians. Income from the civilian side will help pay the bills and salaries of the 10 doctors who’d work there at the start, he said.
Addressing the village board, Caterino said the plan is to start building a surgical center about one year after the medical center is up and running. “It will be one-stop shopping,” he said.
He hopes to break ground on the 31,800-square-foot, three-story medical center this summer.
Village trustee Dan Hilker asked about the treatment plan serving civilians and veterans.
“This will be both,” Caterino said. “How will we pay our costs? We’ll use revenue from the civilian side to pay the bills and the doctors. The doctors will see veterans and civilians.”
There’s not a lot of parking space nearby, which is why Caterino is considering a two-story parking garage, too. He said he has secured $3 million in funding so far.
“This is a first of its kind. We’ll start with the medical center and go from there,” Caterino said. “One step at a time.”
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