A long-delayed state veterans home in the Dunning neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side is set to be completed in December, with the first residents expected to move in next spring, officials said.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other elected officials are scheduled to attend a ceremony Friday afternoon marking the placement of the last structural piece of the building, which was proposed a decade ago by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs held a ceremonial groundbreaking for he 200-bed facility at 4250 N. Oak Park Ave. in September 2014, but the project stalled after Quinn lost his re-election bid less than two months later.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner halted construction of the facility, which had an initial price tag of $70.5 million, during his protracted budget impasse with the Democratic-controlled legislature. Construction resumed after Rauner and Democratic leaders reached a budget truce in June 2016.
The Chicago home will be Illinois’ fifth state-run long-term care facility for veterans. The state’s management of the facilities during the Rauner administration came under scrutiny after a 2015 outbreak of Legionella bacteria at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. Since then, 14 people have died and 70 others have been sickened at the facility, which opened in 1886. A resident of the state veterans home in Manteno died in January after contracting Legionnaire’s disease.
Pritzker on Thursday visited the Quincy home in far western Illinois, vowing to break ground this year on a $245 million replacement facility.
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March 15, 2019 at 02:08PM