Uncertainty continues over major psychiatric center in Caro - WNEM TV 5

Uncertainty continues over major psychiatric center in Caro

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Uncertainty continues in a local community over the fate of a major psychiatric center.

The state budget currently includes $115 million for a new facility, but there’s no word on where it will be built. 

The uncertainty is raising concerns in Tuscola County where the Caro Regional Mental Health Center could be going away. The center has been in the community for more than 100 years and is the second largest employer in the county. 

The center directly employs 349 people and indirectly employees another 398. It also provides $54 million to the area economy. 

"Devastation is the word that comes to mind," said Michael Hoagland, Tuscola County controller.

Hoagland was one of the many community leaders who spoke Friday morning about the topic.

Caro City Manager Ryan Piche took the opportunity to make his pitch as to why the Caro Center needs to remain where it is.

"We have logical reasons and arguments that make sense for the facility to stay here," Piche said.

He argued other places in the state might not want a psychiatric hospital. He also said a majority of patients and employees are from the Thumb region and displacing them would be a burden.

Piche said all the land and infrastructure that state needs for a new facility is already there.

"We're certainly willing to work with them if there are gaps in services that need to be covered. We can make that happen," Piche said.

As for Hoagland, he said they will do everything they can to keep the Caro Center where it is. He said it feels it's 50/50 where the center stays or goes.

"These are real people. These are people that are dependent on that facility being here. It would be very difficult to imagine how we could adjust to a situation like that," Hoagland said.

The Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation said losing the center would send the county's jobless rate to depression-era figures of 14.7 percent.

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