Our History

Heddington Oaks is owned and operated by the County of Peoria, IL.

There is a rich history leading up to our current Heddington Oaks facility. Here’s a brief timeline of our long-term care predecessors:

  • January 1848: Peoria County Commissioners purchased 80 acres with buildings at 7023 W. Plank Road for $1,000. This property was known as the County Farm and is now the Naval Reserve Training Center. 
  • Summer 1851: the Board of Supervisors purchased another 160 acres adjoining the County Farm for $9,000. With 240 acres, there was ample land to grow and raise enough farm and stock products to support the patients at the home. 
  • March 1886: the main building was consumed by a fire that left only the walls standing. A committee was appointed to attend to all matters pertaining to the rebuilding of the home. By December of the same year, the new building had been completed.

 The last extensive improvement to the old facility was a hospital for the sick and infirm. This independent hospital, owned and operated by the County, accommodated approximately 60 patients. 

  • 1948: the facility became the Peoria County Nursing Home and was licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 
  • 1966: a referendum was passed that allowed Peoria County to build a new County nursing home. The referendum provided $3,200,000 to build a new facility with 300 beds, some featuring hospital amenities to aid in the care of bedridden patients. At the time of this successful referendum, the home was full to capacity with a waiting list nearly as long. 
  • April 15, 1967: groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the $3 million facility of Bel-Wood, which was constructed just east of the old home on Plank Road.
  • 1983: a referendum was passed that allowed Peoria County to levy up to 2.5¢ of property tax for Bel-Wood Nursing Home.
  • 1997:  The levy approved by voters in 1983 is used for the first time.

When Bel-Wood became in need of significant upgrades, and the Peoria County Board believed a new facility would be preferable to trying to retrofit the old facility.

  • 2003: Peoria County voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to increase the maximum the County Board could levy in property taxes from 2.5¢ to 6.0¢ of property taxes. The education materials for the referendum stressed that the extra property taxes would be used to erase a negative fund balance which was caused by caring for much more complex medical needs than in the past; a higher concentration of the poor; decreased reimbursement through other government sources; staffing costs which were outpacing inflation; and ensuring that the County conformed to more stringent regulation.
  • 2008-2012:  In the wake of multiple nursing home fires across the United States, a regulation was created to require all nursing homes to retrofit existing buildings with sprinkler systems and new facilities were mandated to have fire sprinkler systems be a part of any construction – new or remodeling.  Given changing markets conditions, the marketability of Bel-Wood to attract new residents in its location, and the cost of adding sprinklers to Bel-Wood, the Board went through an exhaustive process to evaluate renovation versus replacement; if replaced, where should it be located; if replaced, design elements critical to service delivery, and how many beds should the facility have.  This culminated with the construction of Heddington Oaks, a 214-bed, $42 million new facility in West Peoria.
  • 2013: Heddington Oaks opened its doors to the community.