Heddington Oaks Referendum
In April of this year, the Peoria County Board voted to exit the long-term care business. After focusing intently on the enterprise for more than two years, the Board made the decision that the financial and operational difficulties could not be overcome. They also concluded that the private sector had adequately taken over this service since Peoria County originally got in the long-term care business more than 150 years ago.
The last step in this process is to sell the facility and property. The Peoria County Board is seeking voter approval to sell the buildings and land formerly known as Heddington Oaks by placing a referendum on the November 3, 2020, ballot.
Peoria County is no longer actively using the facility, and all residents have voluntarily relocated to other facilities. Should the referendum pass, Peoria County would use the proceeds to pay down the bonds that were issued to construct the facility. This would ultimately lower the County’s debt burden.
If the referendum is approved:
- Reduce the taxpayer debt burden
- Recoup some of our investment
- Opportunity for a new business or business expansion in West Peoria
- Help ensure the lot is occupied and does not become vacant
- Reduce maintenance costs
- Reduces the size of County government
If the referendum is not approved, the Board may choose to put it on the ballot again in 2021. Until then, the County will continue to incur the cost of property upkeep, the building will remain unused, and we'll ask to increase security patrols, all the while no income will be generated. Bond payments will continue to be paid.
If the referendum is not approved:
- Costs incurred to maintain the property and increased security patrols
- Unoccupied building remains in a residential area of West Peoria
- Increased debt burden
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the referendum on the ballot?
By State statute, Peoria County must obtain voter approval to be able to sell or dispose of Heddington Oaks. On three separate occasions since the 1960s, Peoria County voters were asked to 1) construct what would become Bel-Wood Nursing Home; 2) levy a property tax for nursing home services; and 3) increase the amount of property taxes that could be levied for nursing home services.
Failure to obtain approval from the voters means the County Board is not able to sell the land and buildings known as Heddington Oaks.
Why does the board want to sell/dispose of the property?
Earlier this year, the Peoria County Board voted to exit the long-term care business. As such, Peoria County is no longer actively using the facility, and all residents have voluntarily relocated to other nursing homes in the area. If allowed to sell the facility, Peoria County would recoup some of the construction costs and lower the County’s debt burden.
Until the building is sold, Peoria County will keep incurring the costs of upkeep on the building and grounds as well as increased security patrols. All the while, no income will be generated.
Why not repurpose the building and grounds and keep it?
The facility was built to specifications of a long-term care residence. Peoria County does not manage a similar operation that could easily move into it. The Board has not expressed an interest in renovating the building to house a different department or starting up a new service. Additionally, Peoria County has financial obligations that must be met regarding the bond payments for constructing Heddington Oaks. Selling the property would bring in revenue to pay down the bond payments.
What happens if the voters do not allow for the sale of the property?
The Peoria County Board may vote to run the referendum again in Spring 2021. Peoria County will continue to make bond payments and to pay for property maintenance and facility upkeep. The West Peoria facility will remain unused.
Who would the property be sold to?
Peoria County would seek to sell the property to an entity that gets the taxpayers the best value for the property while being sensitive to the neighborhood. The Board intends to hire a third-party broker to help market the facility and engage potential buyers.
Need more information?
Peoria County Administration may educate the public on the referendum; staff shall not advocate for or against the referendum. Members of the public are encouraged to speak with their board representative, email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our Contact Us Form.