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Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis calls for
the return of LDC    
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[MAY 22, 2004]  Below is the statement that Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis made to representatives of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board on Thursday. The board conducted a public hearing at the Knights of Columbus hall to determine the need to reopen a portion of the Lincoln Developmental Center.

[Text provided as-is from scanned document]

05/20/04—Mayor Elizabeth A. Davis' Statement to the Illinois Health Facilities Board During its Public Hearing held RE: Lincoln Developmental Center Re-opening at 10:00 AM at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Lincoln, IL.

Good morning IL Health and Facilities Planning Board:

As Mayor of the City of Lincoln, a lifetime resident of this city, and a former Lincoln Developmental Center (LDC) employee, I would like you to be aware of what I am so well aware of. Lincoln Developmental Center has been an integral, instilled part of our community all of our lives much more than anyone would believe. LDC has stood 127 years in our community and I believed it would be here forever because of the wonderful services it provided to our meekest fellow human beings. All of us in Lincoln and Logan County have ties to it in various degrees, and we all have been affected by LDC's closing in August of 2002. To name some of the assets LDC provided for our community...

  • the care-giving for the individuals requiring continuous, 24-hour care,

  • the commerce LDC provided to the city of Lincoln and Logan County,

  • the jobs it provided for many, many of our citizens, and

  • the peace and comfort LDC provided for the parents and family members of our former LDC residents.

LDC had always been on the cutting edge of care-giving for the mentally challenged and developmentally disabled individuals in the state and the nation, and many current state-operated facilities within Illinois have staff who were trained at LDC. Just four short years ago LDC was recognized as one of the best facilities in the nation, seven years ago it was the first facility in the nation of its type to be accredited, and now it has come to this—

  • miscommunication,

  • misrepresentation,

  • decisions made without first-hand knowledge and understanding of the facts or a particular resident's needs or challenges.

It was then compounded by all the above factors and confounded all of us who truly knew what was and wasn't going on regarding LDC.

LDC/Lincoln/Logan County was targeted heavily when LDC's abuse/neglect record of nine surveyed IL state-operated facilities revealed LDC as ranked #5. Jacksonville and Ludeman Developmental Centers both were ranked worse than LDC and yet some of LDC's residents were moved to both of those facilities.

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The parents and family members had and still have only wonderful, respectful comments about LDC and its staff and the parents'/family members' opinions should be recognized as they are the foremost group to be consulted regarding their children and family members living at LDC. Why was and is their voice not being heard? Would you honestly leave one of your children in a facility if you didn't feel comfortable about the treatment, care, or love s/he was receiving? I most certainly would not. Many of the residents targeted formerly resided in group homes which were highly non-conducive to their individual, medical, physical, or psychological needs and had very much met those needs while living at LDC. I myself, as are many, are concerned with safety and happiness for the still living LDC residents — as there have been approximately 30 former LDC residents die within the first six months to a year after being moved from LDC when it closed. I, along with many others believe if an individual is able to ride a bicycle, walk, or wheel one's wheelchair to a nearby store to purchase something to eat, or if not, at least have the presence of mind or a personal caretaker with him/her to understand where s/he is and knows how to do something independently, I believe that is an individual who will fair [fare] well out in society living in a group home. But the individuals taken care of at the former LDC, for the most part, would be extremely developmentally disabled and so dependent on the loving staff who take care of them 24 hours per day, there would be no immediate hope of them living independently through means of a lesser staffed group home. Extreme confusion, unhappiness, and death were predicted as imminent and it came true. Some people and advocacy groups are making strong judgments regarding this issue without ever having visited LDC's residents or consulted the residents' families for their preference of living quarters.

Governor George Ryan's order to close and transfer LDC's residents to less safe facilities like Jacksonville and Ludeman Developmental Center was unexplainable and very much wrong. LDC's importance to Lincoln two years ago is equally viable now and is compared with that of the Loop to Chicago, as is Caterpillar to Peoria. Please do not take our economic stability away from Lincoln/Logan County but allow us to build on the four ten-bed homes the legislature has funded to begin a new site — a new residential area for individuals with disabilities enriching the ground with commercial, educational, light industrial, and more residential homes to enhance and bring life back into the property, as well as, bring jobs back to our community.

In closing, I have always believed a society should be measured by how well it takes care of its weakest, most vulnerable members; and LDC by leaps and bounds was off the rector [Richter] scale as far as the level of care, love, dedication, and professionalism its employees demonstrated 24 hours per day to its residents. LDC was a family and family members take good care of their own.

Board Members: I respectfully ask you for your support and compassion in re-opening the former LDC and allowing it to be fully-functioning and fully-funded, so once again individuals with severe developmental disabilities and individuals currently employed may once again work together as a family giving the residents the special care they need and deserve. Please right the wrong made two years ago.

Thank you.

Mayor Elizabeth A. Davis
City of Lincoln, Illinois
217/735-1612
217/732-2144(TDD)
217/735-1 287(FAX)
mayorbethdavis@yahoo.com
217/737-5272(Mobile)

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