Future of nursing home up to voters


Update: 5:00 pm, 3/31/17, Friday 

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — Both sides of the nursing home debate are battling it out.

Friday, those who support selling it gathered to discuss what they consider as the “best option.” They say the home has accrued millions of dollars in debt and has failed numerous health inspections.

The supporters say, if voters approve selling it, the home would be run by a private entity.

Some say misinformation regarding a sale has been released. They say the nursing home would not close, but would be sold.

Voters will also be asked if they think taxes should be raised to pay for the home. 

Original: 4:00 pm, 3/29/17, Wednesday

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — Two questions on Tuesday’s ballot will decide the future of the county’s nursing home.

Many people gathered Wednesday for a final push to save it. It’s been a hot button issue for years. Next week, voters will decide its fate.

Some people support the county board while others support Champaign County Health Care Consumers.

Either way, all agree it needs to be saved. In less than a week, taxpayers will decide whether the county nursing home will be sold. The only way to save it is to raise homeowners’ taxes.

“I encourage you all to vote yes for the nursing home and no for the sale.”

Many people met to show their support for keeping the nursing home open because they say it’s a staple in the community. For some, like Barbara Franklin, it was a place her parents called home.

“Both of my parents were residents at the nursing home and they received excellent care and were able to remain together in the years that they lived there.”

Staff members, like Evelyn Thomas, as also fighting to keep the doors open.

“We don’t understand why we have to go this route with closing or selling the nursing home, which we’re totally against. It will affect the families of the workers as well.”

What will happen to the facility is not a new topic of discussion for the county. Some say selling it will eliminate an expensive debt it’s accrued over the years.

“It’s been losing money year-after-year. It’s pulled millions of dollars away from the Champaign County General Corporate Fund that has hurt other maintenance projects.”

Others say it’s worth saving.

“We need to keep this nursing home fully funded and operated by trained professionals that we can trust.”

There was a forum at the Illini Union Wednesday. People plan to go door-to-door this weekend. Election Day is Tuesday.

Voters will be asked two questions. The first is whether to raise taxes for homeowners of about $20/year for an average priced home. The second question is whether the nursing home should be sold.

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