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WJBD - Local News - Hearing Planned on Murray Center Issue at Centralia City Hall

Hearing Planned on Murray Center Issue at Centralia City Hall

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board has set an October ninth hearing in Centralia on the state's proposed closure of Murray Developmental Center.  The hearing is part of the process that is required before the state can move forward with its plan to close Murray Center.  

Centralia officials as well as those from the Murray Parents Association are urging the public to attend the hearing and speak against the closure.  However, Parents Association President Rita Winkeler says the review board is stacked against them and she's not expecting positive results.

"What happened in Jacksonville is that the initial board voted to keep Jacksonville open, and then when it went to the full board, they voted to close Jacksonville. But all the people on the board--the people who made the final decision--were appointees of Governor [Pat] Quinn. So really I'm not sure how advantageous this will be." Winkeler said.

Winkeler still believes the federal lawsuit that claims rights violations of the Murray Center residents is their best avenue to save the facility.

"If we can get the injunction, they cannot close Murray even if they did vote to close it, because the federal injunction would supersede the state issue." Winkeler said.

Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby weighed in on the hearing during a City Council Meeting on Monday evening, urging the public to attend the meeting.

"We need a large support group for this event--we need to show them why we think this closure is wrong. To try and decertify Murray in comparison to other facilities--it's just crazy. Thats all I can say. Its just crazy." Ashby said. 

The hearing will begin at four pm on October ninth at Centralia City hall, with sign in beginning at 3:30.   The public will be able to present written or verbal comments on the proposed closure.   Those providing testimony are asked to provide two copies of the documentation or materials that are printed or typed on 8.5 by 11 inch paper.  The recommendation of the hearing committee will then go before the Health Facilities board at its December 17th meeting.  

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