Rock Island County looks to lease or sell Hope Creek Care Center

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Rock Island County has owned a nursing home for more than 150 years, but that might not be the case much longer. County leaders are looking to sell or lease Hope Creek Care Center.

245 people call Hope Creek Care Center home and more than 250 people work there, but County Board Chair Phillip Banaszek says Hope Creek Care Center is costing the county a lot of money.

"We're looking at next year with the budget having a deficit of $2.5 million,” said Banaszek.

That’s why he plans to talk with the Rock Island County Board about selling or leasing the nursing home.

"It's truly unfortunate that we've gotten to this point, but at the same time, we have to be fiscally responsible to the county and everybody concerned,” said Banaszek.

In addition to the financial situation at the home and in Illinois, Banaszek says Rock Island County receives $70 less than what the cost per patient is through Medicaid through Illinois.

"We can't sustain that,” said Banaszek.

"They think that everything is a business in life, well people's lives are not businesses, they're reality,” said Dino Leone, Staff Representative with AFSCME Council 31 and represents most of the employees at Hope Creek.

"Just think of a lifetime of dedication that we made to the community and all of a sudden we wake up one morning to the paper without discussion that we're considering selling the home or leasing the home... how?” said Leone.

He says past referendums have shown people want Rock Island County to keep the nursing home.

"I've paid over 20 years of my taxes. A good portion of that goes to the county nursing home. I have a right to that nursing home, not one person or board member owns that home, this community owns that home,” said Leone.

Banaszek says they haven’t actively looked for someone to purchase the home. He says he would prefer leasing to selling and would like the buyer to be local.