Ground-breaking held for home for vets


Governor Pat Quinn held a ground-breaking ceremony on Sept. 21 for the $70.5 million Illinois Veterans Home at the southwest corner of Forest Preserve Drive and Oak Park Avenue.

The 200-bed facility will be the fifth veterans’ home in the state and the first in Chicago.

Construction will begin by early October on 7.8 acres of land. The location was selected because of its proximity to the Hines VA Hospital and its accessibility to public transportation.

Forty units in the home will provide long-term care for veterans with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2016.

"All of us on the home front have a duty to take care of those who have borne the battle," Quinn said. "More than half of Illinois’ veterans live in the Chicago area, and this new facility will greatly benefit these heroes and their families. Our new veterans’ home in Chicago will provide care and support for 200 of our nation’s heroes and create hundreds of jobs for hard-working Illinois residents."

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved federal reimbursement for up to 65 percent of the eligible construction costs on the project, which means that as much as $45.8 million of the construction cost could be covered by the federal government.

The five-story home will feature single-occupancy rooms with private bathrooms and common areas for dining and meeting with visitors. The facility will be built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standards, and the construction project will be managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board.

"The start of construction on the Illinois Veterans Home at Chicago is a great step forward," Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs acting director Rodrigo Garcia said. "Thanks to Governor Quinn’s leadership and commitment to serving those who have served, Chicago-area veterans will have a chance to access the great quality of care and the caring, patriotic environment we offer at our four existing homes."

The department will operate the home, and it also supervises veterans’ homes in Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy as well as the Prince Home, a 15-bed housing facility for homeless and disabled veterans at Manteno.

The department will be able to receive federal per diem payments that will provide more than 25 percent of the annual operating budget of the home.

"There is no more important building being constructed in the state of Illinois than this one," Capital Development Board executive director Jim Underwood said. "We are honored to oversee the construction of this home that will care for heroes who answered the call to serve."

Governor Pat Quinn and officials participated in a ground-breaking ceremony on Sept. 21 for the $70.5 million Illinois Veterans Home at the southwest corner of Forest Preserve Drive and Oak Park Avenue.

 

The 200-bed facility will be the fifth veterans’ home in the state and the first in Chicago.
(Photo by Randy Baran)


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