QUINCY — A study shows that the economic impact of the Illinois Veterans Home extends far beyond the city of Quincy and well above the facility's $54 million annual budget.
Robin Hanna conducted the study to find the Veterans Home's economic ripples statewide. He said the "total economic output" is $90.7 million a year in Illinois.
"It's not just the 500 jobs that are there, but for every job that is at the facility, almost another three-quarters of a position is created through the multiplier effect," Hanna said.
Hanna said he tracked three levels of data in his study. The study shows direct employment impact involving people who work from home, indirect impact, which can be determined through vendors who sell or provide secondary services and a third level of economic activity involving people or businesses receiving money from those vendors or service providers.
"The Veterans Home is a surprisingly strong source of good jobs in the region," Hanna said. "I had driven by the home before, but I didn't realize its physical size or its importance to the region with respect to employees and vendors and households."
A steering committee assembled in January by Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore sought the study, The Quincy Herald-Whig reported.
Moore said the study shows that closing the Veterans Home would have an economic effect on more than just the city of Quincy.
"It's not just an economic driver for the city; if there was a closure, it would ripple throughout the state," Moore said.
The committee has focused on finding the best ways to upgrade the Veterans Home after Legionnaires' disease outbreaks, which began in 2015. The outbreaks resulted in 13 deaths and more than 60 illnesses.
Sen. Dick Durbin called for the closure of the facility, but reversed course in January after visiting the facility.
Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration on Monday announced that it will replace residence halls at the facility. The plan, revealed by Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Erica Jeffries at a legislative hearing in Chicago, comes after a pledge by the Republican governor less than two months ago that he would replace antiquated plumbing that could provide harbor for the bacteria that causes the deadly, pneumonia-like malady.