At the intersection of Park Avenue and McCraren, past a field of long and unkempt grass, partially covered by plywood sheets on the windows, and home to significant decay and petty trash lies the vacant property of the Sam & Sonia Greenberg Radiation Center.
The building was originally used as a factory producing light fixtures until Dr. Irving Greenberg of Highland Park converted it to a radiology center in the early 1990s. The building stayed in use until MRI technology was no longer privatized. The obsolescence of the technology presumably led Dr. Greenberg to close his business over five years ago.
Walking around the building, the decay is overwhelming. All windows are boarded up, doors are locked, paint chips off of all the walls, weeds and other invasive species have taken over the back area only partially obscured by the rubble chipping off the building, and the area has clearly been used as an illegal dumping ground for abandoned mattresses, window frames, and potted plants. The street-side billboards advertising the building have been taken down, but their frames remain, leaving exposed wires hanging out through the empty rectangular void the signs left.
The experienced navigator or lucky explorer could lead you through a pathway behind the building, through a relatively dense wooded thicket, and into a grass clearing host to a store-bought grill for having bonfires around, and a recycling bin filled to the brim in empty beer cans.
“There have been reoccurring property maintenance issues that he [Dr. Greenberg] has been cited for,” Says Scott Moe, Buildings Division Manager for the City, “The city is getting no help from him.”
Moe speculates that the building’s vacancy, alongside its citations are due in part to Dr. Greenberg’s old age, which Moe claims to be in the 90s.
Despite the building’s deteriorating state, according to both Moe and Mike Gilbert, municipal Building Inspector, so long as the building keeps up with safety and maintenance codes, the city cannot take down the building.
“It’d be nice if the guy [Dr. Greenberg] could just get the property sold.” Said Gilbert.
Gilbert, a longtime policeman, mentioned that the site has been used for various “screwing around” by teens, such as beer drinking or climbing on the roof. Oftentimes police cars are seen in the lot’s driveway patrolling the area.
Alongside the aesthetic tapering and delinquent behavior, questions hang in the air regarding the radioactive materials used with the MRI screenings.
In a city hall meeting on September 30th, 2009, the city hall minutes read, "Dr. Greenberg of Greenberg Radiology addressed the City Council regarding issues with removal of hazardous materials from the radiology building." Then Highland Park Mayor Mike Belsky asked Dr. Greenberg to meet with him again to resolve any outstanding matters.
Since then, no references to Greenberg Radiation have come up in city hall meetings with the exception of a proposal to build a sidewalk in front of it with the new CVS complex at the intersection of Park Avenue and Highway 41.
According to a study on MRI safety by the World Health Organization, it has been reported that several structures within the body are affected by the static magnetic fields of the MRI including the retina, pineal gland, and some cells in paranasal sinuses. However the effects are neither teratogenic nor carcinogenic.