Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

Online edition –>

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted 7-0 to allow Pipeline Health to close Westlake Hospital, 1225 W. Lake St. in Melrose Park.

The decision comes after a two-month-long fight waged by area residents, lawmakers and other community leaders to keep Pipeline from closing the nearly century-old hospital.

The village of Melrose Park has a lawsuit pending against Pipeline, one reason the state should have voted against the closure, opponents of the closure argued on Tuesday.

Before the unanimous vote, the review board had issued a 4-3 decision in favor of postponing the closure while the lawsuit played out, but without a 5-person majority the board could not make a final decision, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The review board has one seat that needs to be filled and one member was absent.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) said that the review board’s “decision to let Pipeline Health get away with misleading residents of the community they pledged to serve is disappointing, but far from the end of my effort to protect access to health care in our community.”

Welch said that over the next few days, he plans on “continuing discussions with local residents, activists and elected officials to determine our next best course of action in our fight to keep Westlake open.”