The future of the Quincy Veteran's Home remains uncertain, as 13 deaths have occurred there in recent years related to Legionnaires' disease. The outcome may impact an entire region.
In his State of the State address Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner gave two options: replace the home's plumbing or get a new facility.
But it's unclear if a new facility would mean rebuilding or simply moving the residents to a different location. Republican Senator Jil Tracy of Quincy says she hopes to preserve the home's historical significance as well as the services and jobs it brings to the area. "It has a huge economic imprint, " she says.
"We have this facility and the grounds there, so it makes sense for this special place to continue where it is."
Closing the facility or relocating it to another town would be an economic blow to the Quincy area. Tracy says the current employees consider themselves more than employees: They say it's their privilege to serve the veterans and their families.
State legislative hearings are being held and Tracy says a local group has formed to discuss every option. The Centers for Disease Control says it's nearly impossible to completely remove Legionella from the water plumbing once it's already there. A state of the art treatment system was installed in 2016, after an earlier outbreak contributed to 12 deaths. Last year, one death was reported.
Governor Rauner stayed at the home for several days last month in response to critics who wanted the facility closed down.