ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- During its Tuesday, June 18 meeting, Rock Island County Board members overwhelmingly voted in favor of looking for possible buyers for Hope Creek Care Center.
County Administrator Jim Snider said during the meeting he'll start drafting requests for proposals to start the search. He said people have already called and emailed him, expressing interest in buying the nursing home. He added that he hasn't returned those inquiries.
Drue Mielke was one of several county board members who said Tuesday's decision was a difficult one.
"We answer to the people in the county in addition to keeping Hope Creek a viable institution," he says. "If a vendor pulls out, that's not viable. So we really need to look at every option."
Mielke says he, as well as other board members, will work to find solutions to turn Hope Creek around.
Snider said during the meeting it would take six months before one possible buyer is narrowed down after the proposals come in. The county board would then have another vote before finalizing any sort of sale and starting a six-month transition phase from county to private ownership.
"There are so many things that have to happen for the turn around to happen," he says. "Not saying it can't, but we have to prepare for both eventualities at the same time. We don't have the luxury at the same time."
Edwin Langdon was one of five board members to oppose this step toward selling. He says the report from Management Performance Associates laid out how the care center could get out of the run. He admits it would be a long, difficult process.
"Hope Creek is a good case of turning things around," he says. "The future right now, the future looks bleak. I'm in favor of keeping Hope Creek county owned."
County administrators say Hope Creek will continue to run as usual. They say it's critical that plans moving forward keep residents and employees at the home a top priority.
"We have to think of not only the taxpayers and the residents. We also have to think about the employees and the residents of the home," Board Chairman Richard Brunk says.