JDC closure worries local businesses

Published 07/05 2012 10:19PM

Updated 07/10 2012 12:16PM

JACKSONVILLE -- Governor Quinn is going through with his plan to shut down the Jacksonville Developmental Center, now business owners worry how this will impact them.

"We did the petitions, we passed them out, we turned them in, we did everything possible, we put the posters up. We did it all," said Brenda Hazel.

But none of it was enough to keep the Jacksonville Developmental Center open. Governor Quinn is shutting it down for good in just a few months. 

"It's a terrible thing to see and were all upset," she said.

Hazel owns Our Bar in downtown. She and her husband bought it 11-years ago. She says business has been going well, but worries that could soon change.

"I see the business going down somewhat. Not only mine but everyone else's," said Hazel.

The JDC houses about 200-residents and employs more than 350-workers. Many of them live, eat, and shop in the community.

"If they're not making money, we can't make money, and if they don't make money, I don't make money and it impacts every single one of us," said Amber Hill.

She works at the bar and agrees the closure is going to cause a lot of problems. 

"I feel sad for the people because that's a lot of people who dont have jobs and the people that they take care of. Where are they going?" she said.

It's not just the Jacksonville community that's going to take a hit. An economic report released earlier this year shows Morgan County stands to lose $47 million. As for Hazel, she's still holding out hope, that maybe something can be done to save the JDC.

"I think there's something they could do, but will they? I hope they will."

All of the residents will be moved out of the facility and into group homes by the end of October. As far as the workers go, that's still up in the air because of contract negotiations.

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