Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
Fight to Keep Murray Developmental Center Open Continues
CENTRALIA -- Supporters of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia fight to keep the facility from being shut down on two fronts.
Parents of Murray residents are suing the state to try to keep the center open.
"It's an effort to balance the budget on the backs of people who cannot speak for themselves," said Karen Kelly.
Tuesday, a judge ruled the lawsuit could move forward, saying the state has not proven its closure plan will save money. Hearings on that suit are now set for January 5th.
The next day, dozens of Murray supporters, like Kelly, shared their stories at a public hearing in front of a state board.
That panel will rule next month whether the closure should happen.
Parents, Murray employees, city and state officials stepped up to the podium Wednesday night to share why they believe the Developmental Center should stay open.
"When you're 6 foot 5 and 250 and you throw a temper tantrum, not only is he at risk, but other people around him can be at risk," explained Kelly.
Kelly's son, Eric, has lived in the Murray Center for the past 14 years. Eric can't speak and has the brain function of a 2 and 1/2 year old.
"Eric needs a lot of supervision, he needs a very structured environment. You don't get that in a CILA," she added.
Community Integrated Living Arrangements, are smaller, community homes. That's where Governor Pat Quinn wants to move Eric and his fellow residents.
A spokesperson says the state is committed to rebalancing the state's system for people with developmental disabilities.
"The state wants to see that the best healthcare possible is delivered to its citizens," said Phil Bradley, the only Illinois Health Facilities and Services review board member present.
Bradley says he and eight others will review the case and vote on whether to close the facility on November 5th.
"We look at what effect closing that facility will have on other institutions and services in the neighborhood," he said.
The board's final decision is binding, but could be overturned in the lawsuit filed by Murray Center supporters.
"We have an amazing amount of community support and right now, when you look at what's happening in our federal case, things are looking pretty promising," added Kelly.
If you'd like to submit your own comments to the review board, you have until the 28th. You can click the link in the related content box for an application.
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Humidity: 80 %