Tuesday, Nov. 2


State takes over final Lincoln Estates development     Send a link to a friend

LDC task force retired

[NOV. 2, 2004]  The closing of the former Lincoln Developmental Center in September 2002 scattered residents, left employees without jobs and deeply affected a community. Nearly 400 residents were moved to other facilities during the year of shutdown. They were often transferred to locations farther from their family or less suited to their needs. Those families now see a ray of sunshine in the choice of moving loved ones back to a new facility in the not-too-distant future.

Newly elected Gov. Rod Blagojevich implemented a task force that began meeting in May 2003 to develop new plans to open a redeveloped facility that would meet modern standards of care for the mentally handicapped. Sen. Larry Bomke lobbied hard to get legislation passed, and $7 million has been kept in holding for the new development.

After working with the Illinois Department of Human Services for over a year, the task force submitted a plan to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board to build four 10-bed homes and renovate several buildings for support services. That plan was accepted in late October and the task force had their last meeting Monday to refine some of the details for the buildings.

The Department of Human Services will now take over the process of getting the homes built and renovations completed, DHS spokesman Tom Green said. "We are very grateful for the hard work and commitment of the members of the task force, which began meeting more than a year ago and provided valuable assistance in the development of the project as it stands now," Green said. We may ask for further input from task force members as we go forward, he added.

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DHS is also working on the development of two other facilities for the mentally handicapped, which may be added to the campus: a dental clinic and a crisis center.

A senior living center is also being considered as one of the three other state-run facilities to be added to the 103-acre campus.

Acreage would still remain, and it will be up to the community to submit plans and a request for its use to the state. Rob Orr of the Lincoln/Logan County Economic Partnership is spearheading this effort.

The ball is rolling for past residents, new jobs and economic development to come to the new Lincoln Estates.

[Jan Youngquist]

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