First the damage was
merely a small hole and slow leak that all thought would be patched
and she'd be good to go on as always. But serious structural damage
occurred in the process as multiple attempts were made to fix her.
The damages became irreparable. It was one of those shocking
tragedies when something goes from bad to worse despite all the best
efforts to fix it.
Eventually, to the dismay of thousands -- hundreds who called her
home, hundreds who called her employment security and thousands who
called her their history and a valued member of the community --
that mighty icon sank. The battle to save her had raged almost a
full year when at 2 p.m. Saturday,
Sept. 1, 2002, it was all over.
As she went down, the
optimists and pessimists played their roles.
Some said she might sail
again. Others scoffed and called them dreamers, though they secretly
hoped this might be so.
Powerful men said that if
they were put in command, they would bring her back. Others said
that even if they meant it, it couldn't or wouldn't be done.
Months passed, and one of
those men who had made a promise was put in command. All waited and
watched to see if he remembered and if he could or would actually
keep his word. Some went to see him to remind him about her and say
how much she was still missed and needed.
Then everyone waited.
The day came on April 9,
2003, when new Gov. Rod Blagojevich rolled out his state budget.
Everyone listened, straining to hear what they most wanted. Despite
listening hard to the detailed and lengthy plans, none heard any
confirmation of the promise he had made so long ago. This was the
last, best hope, dashed.
However, Gov. Blagojevich
had sent written word to Sen. Larry Bomke that yes, he definitely
remembered LDC, and yes, he had plans to reopen her.
This was the letter:
OFFICE OF THE
CAPITOL, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS 62706
April 4, 2003
Senator Larry Bomke
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Senator Bomke,
Pursuant to our discussions today and on behalf of Governor
Blagojevich, this letter is to inform you that included in the
FY04 budget will be funds dedicated to and for the reopening
of the Lincoln Developmental Center. If you have any
questions, please feel free to call me at your earliest
Chief of Staff
[to top of second column in
She didn't go down fast and she isn't
coming back up fast, nor easily for that matter. It's one step at a
time toward reopening of Lincoln Developmental Center. Rep. Lee
Daniels called an informative meeting before the members of the
Illinois Mental Health and Disabilities Committee in Springfield
yesterday (Wednesday, May 7).
The goal of the hearing was to assess
the history of LDC and look to its future use. Word spread by mouth
to all the LDC supporters when a posting was seen two days earlier.
Despite the short notice, people changed their plans and came to the
Attending in addition to members of the state committee were new
staff and directors of the Department of Human Services, including
Carol Adams; state Reps. Rich Brauer and Bill Mitchell and Sen.
Larry Bomke, supporters of LDC; members of the former LDC parents
group; and AFSCME representatives. Government leaders and families
of the disabled will work with the Department of Human Services to
figure out what the new LDC will be.
Representatives of the Illinois Council on the Developmentally
Disabled who oppose the large, state-run facilities were also
present to resist the reopening plans. The opponents advocate
privately owned community-integrated group homes for the
Right now it seems that those who want
to call LDC home again will be able to do so on a newly renovated
campus. The governor has allotted $10 million dollars for fiscal
year 2004, which begins July 1. Half the money will go to renovate
the campus and the other half for services to care for residents. It
is intended at this time to welcome 50 residents and bring more than
100 jobs back.
bring you more on when, how and what will happen on the LDC campus
as details become available.