Community leaders meet to discuss future site of rehab center - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Community leaders meet to discuss future site of rehab center

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There are new developments in the fight over the Western Mass Correctional Alcohol Center.

A meeting was held Wednesday night between the Hampden County Sheriff's Department and the New North Citizens Council.

It was initiated by Baystate Health and held at the hospital.

Meeting behind closed doors, community leaders gathered at Baystate Medical Center to try and find a solution for the on-going debate about the future site of the center.

The Hampden County Sheriff's Department is looking to relocate to the corner of Wason Ave and Plainfield Street, but residents who live around there are in opposition.

“There's enough facilities and treatment centers and I feel this will be overwhelming," said Ernest Harris, of Springfield.  

During the meeting, Sheriff Michael Ashe explained how the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance ultimately chooses the final site for the new facility upon hearing recommendations from the Sheriff’s Department.

Frank Robinson, Vice President of Public Health and Community Relations for Baystate Health said he has worked with both the Sheriff's Department and residents of the north end and he said he suggested the meeting between both parties a while ago.

“If there's siting opportunities available that is of alternative sites and I think that was part of the conversation, well we have resources here at Baystate that could support the community, residents and the sheriff around site options if there is an alternative."

Baystate Health has several medical buildings in the north end one of which is near the proposed site for the treatment center.

Robinson said Baystate has no plans for the property, but is willing to work through a process to see if there are alternative options for the center.

"That was discussed, but there's no plan right now. There's nothing on the table right now," explained Robinson.

But residents like Barbara Rattelle said they're hoping the hospital will jump in and do something with the land.

“I would rather see Baystate put something there. Something everybody can use,” said Rattelle.

No final decision has been made on a permanent location for the facility.

Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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