Local group wants to use state money for a new building at Veterans' Home
4 months, 2 weeks ago by Denise Donley
Friends of the Quincy Veterans' Home are proposing a new building be built with state funded money
The following are responses from officials with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs addressing the proposal of the Friends of the Quincy Veterans' Home.
Q: What is being done to address the concerns or plans the Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home have put forth?
A: We welcome the ideas, observations and comments from residents, families, concerned citizens and groups. As a dynamic organization, we strive to improve in all areas of our care for veterans – in housing, services and support, as well as infrastructure improvements. We are proud of how we care for our residents.
The “Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home” sent a letter to Director Erica Borggren on Jan 7, and her reply was signed and mailed on Jan. 8 (copy provided) We think the letter speaks for itself.
We learned letters were sent immediately before and after to Superintendent Vaca and Gov. Quinn on the same issues. As the Governor’s representative and responsible agent for veterans issues, Director Borggren’s response stands for the administration.
Q2: Are the Friends of the Quincy Veterans' Home asking for something that is unattainable at this point?
A2: Director Borggren’s letter summarizes the situation and welcomes advocacy for potential projects, once the strategic planning is complete. Click here for Borggren's letter.
Q3: The group has sent letters to those working at the Vets home and government officials, why have they not gotten an answer?
A3: A letter to the Friends was signed and sent on January 8, one day after the Friends’ letter was received. Outside of the letters already mentioned, we are unaware of any other correspondence and would refer you to others with that question. We feel the IDVA responded promptly to the Friends’ letter of Jan. 7, 2013.
Q4: Does the Illinois Veterans’ Home think these changes/improvements are necessary?
A4: Director Borggren’s letter summarizes the situation and provides the answer. Also, we are nearing completion of two major facilities improvements totaling nearly $5 million dollars. Both projects at the Illinois Veterans Home are nearing completion and within budget. The work progressed and each addressed long-term challenges to operations and provides better operating conditions for the future.
A new central chiller plant project was budgeted for $2.69 million and $2.5 has been spent thus far and the project is nearing completion. The chimney stack renovation and ash handling project was budgeted for $3.2 million, with just over $3 million having been spent. This project was complex due to the challenges of the removal and safe disposal of materials which could harm the environment.
Both these projects are key to providing environmental controls for residents, staff and others at the Illinois Veterans Home.
As part of the 2013 Illinois Capital Development Project, the Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home have been advocating that part of the money be issued for Quincy.
If given the money, the group suggests building a new 400 to 500 bed building and/or extensive renovation of existing buildings at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.
The Capital Development project is funded by Illinois and will be available in the next couple of months.
Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home Co-Chair Dennis Boden said the project fund would be worth over $1 million.
“We’re hoping we can get a portion started. With the funds that are available through the Capital Development Board, we’d like to see a big chunk of that come to Quincy to upgrade what needs to be done,” said Boden. “What really needs to be done is a 500 bed ward and that’s what we’re hoping for.”
However, the Veterans’ Home in Quincy did not respond to the Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home requests or address the issues the group brought to the home’s attention. With no response, the Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home wrote letters to government officials to see if they would advocate for money to be allocated for the project.
Letters were sent to Bruce Vaca, Illinois Veterans Home Superintendent, Erica Borggren, Director of Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, State Sen. John Sullivan, State Rep. Jil Tracy and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
“Senator John Sullivan and Representative Jil Tracy have been very open to what we’ve had to say, and I think they’re very strong advocates,” said Boden. “We need them on our side.”
According to the Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home, the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy was allocated $1 million three years ago to fix cooling system problems. Nothing as of yet has been started.
When asked why, Boden responded “That is something you’d have to talk to Mr. Vaca about.”
“If it weren’t for the Veterans, we probably wouldn’t have that funding anyway. They were the ones that fought for the Liberties and for the Rights,” said Boden. “We owe it to them. They’ve done their part; it’s time for us to do ours. We need to do everything we can to make life more comfortable for the Veterans that are there.”