Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Heddington Oaks, Oh, Heddintgon Oaks, You Should Never Have Been Built

A $3 million dollar a year deficit collar around the Peoria County Boards neck. This yearly $3 million loss despite approximately another $3 million in tax revenue. I fought hard to stop this massive boondoggle but failed badly. At one point, I was the only Board member opposed to this $51 million or so, "safety net" mainly built for Medicaid and Alzheimer clients. Plus a few full pay private occupants. I am not sure what the census is but it was built to house 214 clients, including some from other counties. Board Chairman Andrew Rand denies that the County Nursing Home is up for sale. Possibly not right now but expect more concern by elected County officials as was expressed recently by Republican Peoria County Treasurer, Trip O'Conner and some board members. The County will eventually sell the facility to the private sector, a sale that SHOULD have been made when it was still named Bel-Wood. Who were the major cheerleaders entranced by the persistent efforts of our highly paid consultants? Former County Board Superintendent, Patrick Urich and now Peoria City Manager, and Board Member Phil Salzer. Sorry again for no paragraphs. I suggest those interested refer to my old blogs on the subject. Just enter Bel-Wood in the search bar on the upper left hand side of any of my blogs. You may also want to refer to an article, "Panel wants Bel-Wood Replaced", written by Karen McDonald then as a reporter for the JS and more recently known as an Aaron Schock staff member, dated 6/27/09. Ms. McDonald reported that Merle Widmer was the only Board member opposed to this ALWAYS apparent boondoggle. She also wrote that the expected cost of the new Nursing Home would cost roughly $26-29 million. Oh boy, how did it fly to a $51 million? Low paid, often unqualified public board members who never met a payroll or ran a size-able business, are a major reason why Peoria is running growing deficits on all of it's publicly funded entities. The same is true in most of the states in the Union.Never in my era has the old adage of never spend more than you can prove you will take in unless it is a project for all public use on which you do not exspect to break even, And can AFFORD it. Again, I apologize for no paragraphs.


Ron said...


We had not read your blog for some time. We left the sorry city of Peoria for a well run city, Longmont, Colorado. We left Peoria mid September. About the final blow for us was the Main/University intersection snafu which resulted in hundreds of cars passing our beautiful home on N. Parkside. I tried for months to get the city to take steps to reduce the volume but to no avail. We just wish our two sons could see the declining city they still live in and move to a better place. Tennis outdoors continues year round here as does golf. All the best to you. Ron Douglas

Merle Widmer said...

Ron, thanks for being my friend. Enjoyed playing tennis with you and your son. I could probably hold my own with you but not your son. I stopped playing in August as my Neuropathy leaves me prone to falling. Plus I have lost a great deal of energy. I am going to try tennis again when and if I get to Florida.

As for leaving Peoria, I would have left LONG ago if it weren't for my wife who is never going to move. She is recovering from a broken neck which will take probably 6 months to heal. She very prone to falling because of her sickness which she is stubborn about having treatments.

Best wishes. Merle