Editorial: Psychiatric hospital critical to the region
Local economic development and government officials are moving quickly on a plan to build a 16-bed acute psychiatric hospital in southeast Willmar. The officials correctly changed their site choice from the initial proposal that would have put th...
Local economic development and government officials are moving quickly on a plan to build a 16-bed acute psychiatric hospital in southeast Willmar.
The officials correctly changed their site choice from the initial proposal that would have put the hospital right in the middle of the recreation corridor in southwest Willmar. The location was rejected following opposition due to recreational concerns.
State and local officials quickly consulted before choosing the next location preference: a two-acre parcel located at 1209-1217 Seventh St. S.E., south of Willmar Avenue. This is the location of the former KindleHope residential facility for developmentally disabled persons.
This location has several advantages.
n It impacts the fewest number of residential people, compared to the other 19 locations considered.
n The new location is near Woodland Centers, where other regional mental health services have been provided.
n The location has access off Willmar Avenue and the Highway 71/23 bypass.
The new adult psychiatric hospital is critical to the 18-county west central Minnesota region. The hospital's services will replace the adult mental health programs that will be closed at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center in 2007.
All local officials -- the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, city of Willmar, Kandiyohi County and local legislators -- are to be commended for moving quickly to find an adequate location.
There is an urgent need to keep the psychiatric hospital project progressing. The state and our communities need the beds to be completed by mid-2007. If it is not completed in time, patients and their families would have to travel to the Twin Cities or other regions of the state.
The hospital, estimated to cost $4 million, will also help keep about 35 jobs in the community.