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Change of plans for Rochester Psychiatric Center
Rochester, N.Y. -- Tuesday night's public informational meeting about the future of the Rochester Psychiatric Center left many residents with more questions than answers.
"How come the community wasn't involved in it?" asked Richard Rowe with the Mt. Hope Business Association. "We don't know what the plan is."
Frustration from the community could be felt. Members said they weren't kept in the loop of plans that were vague to begin with.
"As far as I'm concerned, the only thing I know, and you can paint this any way you want to paint it in, is that we're going to have potentially a forensic unit that's going to have 150 to 200 patients, and as far as I'm concerned you're building a prison," said Rowe.
The main concern for residents was how many civil or patients who suffer from less severe mental illness would be added to facilities compared to forensic or patients dealing with severe mental illness.
"That's a very good question, and I can't answer it yet because it will be based on our metrics," said Elizabeth Suhre, director of the Rochester Psychiatric Center.
It was a question that would go unanswered all night.
But what was made clear Tuesday night is that there's a new plan.
For the 2014-15 budget year, the center wants to create 116 new supportive housing units to help patients in recovery adjust to life in the community.
Plans also call to implement intervention and training programs for patients who suffer from severe mental illness and expand recovery services to foster education and social growth.
There were also concerns about the look of the facility.
Nearby residents worried they would see more razor wire, but an official with the New York State Office of Mental Health said most changes wouldn't be visible.
"Nothing you would be able to see from the perimeter walking through," he said. "We're looking at all kinds of alternative fencing schemes to meet our civil and forensic needs."
But despite the frustrations, some members of the community felt something did come out of the meeting.
"They're vague on how many beds there will be," said Daniel Hurley, president of the Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association. "They don't really seem to have answers, so we're frustrated, but they seem willing to engage and dialogue, which is one of the things we were hoping came out of this meeting."
According to the state Office of Mental Health website, those plans may be developed and are subject to change given community feedback.
You can read the full plan here http://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/excellence/rce/docs/roch-fact.pdf