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Psychiatric Hospital Proponents Say Neighborhood Fears Are Unfounded
Thomas Powell is a member of Woodlake Neighbors Creating Transparency. The group says it is worried about patient's wandering through neighborhoods on their way to treatment or after they've been released.
"These kinds of facilities -once they exhaust a patient's private insurance, they kick them out the back door," Powell says. "They end up on the streets here and then they end up as a liability for us all."
Signature Healthcare Attorney Ryan Hooper says the hospital would be a locked facility where clients are delivered by -and discharged to- a physician or care facility.
"For those who may not have somebody to turn to, the client goes through detailed processes for ensuring those folks are provided transportation to their residence or a licensed group home or just some other program or licensed facility to extend the follow-up care."
The Expo Parkway Behavioral Healthcare Hospital would have 120 beds on a 70,000 square foot site.
Greg Bitter with the city's Public Works Department says a hospital is only slightly different from other businesses when considered for land use. The city ruled eight years ago that the site was suitable for development.
"In 2005, 60,000 square feet of small, single-story offices were approved to be located on this property," Bitter says."
That project stalled when the recession hit.
But Woodlake Neighbors Creating Transparency says the city has gone too far in comparing a psychiatric hospital with the previously-approved business development.
"We think that that is not allowable," he says. "They claim it is if there are minor changes, but these are major that you can't say a hospital is comparable to an office complex."
The association says it will sue if the city council approves this project.
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