Local veterans looking to modernize Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy

Local veterans are calling on Illinois lawmakers to help build a new 500 bed facility at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

A group calling itself "Friends of the Quincy Veterans Home" sent letters to Governor Pat Quinn and local lawmakers.

The group says it would like to see a more modern veterans nursing home facility. Built more than 125 years ago, the veterans home sits on 210 acres of land off N. 12th St., a quiet setting for veterans and their spouses.

Retired U.S. Army Reserve Captain Dennis Boden says a new 500-bed ward is in the works at the veterans home in Chicago. It's what he wants to see in Quincy, where he says, some of the buildings are starting to show their age.

Currently, there are about 435 residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

"There was a ward that was opened up within the last couple of years, that takes care of the Alzheimers unit and dementia patients. I've seen the building, It's a wonderful building. And we'd like to see the rest of the veterans home the same way. Our veterans fought for us, now it's time for us to fight for them," Boden said.

Ryan Yantis, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs said his agency received the veterans' letter about a new facility.

â??We just went through a complete and lengthy upgrade of the cooling and chimney,â?? Yantis said. â??The director (Erica Borggren) states in her letter that there are ongoing reviews and ongoing planning on how we're going to manage upgrades and improvements of the homes. She looks forward to sitting down something with the Friends of the Veterans home to discuss their concerns."

Rep. Jil Tracy is one of the lawmakers who received the Friends' proposal. She supports the measure, but isn't sure it will happen any time soon.

"Certainly, I think legislators would like to see veterans given top priority for any funds. It's just that we're not sure if any funds are going to be available. That's a capital plan that's totally separate from the state budget and it takes a private revenue strength," Tracy said.

A new ward for the veterans home is only an idea at this point. It's unknown how much it would cost or where the new building would sit on the current campus.