Eleven of the board's 12 members expressed support Monday night for the program that could house about two dozen adolescent boys at Hallsville. The County Board is expected to vote on the Teen Challenge proposal in about a month.
The County Board and Barnett Township officials hosted a second public forum on the issue at the Hallsville Christian Church. County officials and representatives of Teen Challenge answered questions about the program.
Several people in the audience asked about security at the proposed facility. Nearby homeowner Ken Lovett said he moved his family to the rural area to avoid problems such as drugs and alcohol abuse.
Board member Steve Lobb responded to comments that undesirable people will visit the community as a result of Teen Challenge.
"We've heard monikers about 'those people.' Well, those people are us," Lobb told the crowd of about 60 people.
The Rev. John Harper, director of Teen Challenge in Illinois, credits the program with saving his life more than 30 years ago. He told families that he cannot guarantee that problems won't occur at the facility.
"In life, things happen," he said.
Teen Challenge officials emphasized that participants who do not want to continue in the faith-based program are transported home.
Elizabeth Lord, coordinator for the DeWitt County Mothers Against Drunk Driving, urged people to view alcoholism and other addictions as a disease.
She said her son's death brought that reality home for her.
"My son lost that battle. He fought it very hard but he lost," said Lord.
The County Board will move forward with a survey of the property and accept offers for the nursing home site and about 37 tillable farm acres.
Teen Challenge officials said they will make a minimal offer for the property.
Board Chairman Duane Harris said after the meeting that the board is not obligated to accept the highest financial offer.
The Teen Challenge board will consider the issue Oct. 31 if the County Board accepts their offer for the property.