The Genesee County Board of Commissioners, along with Judge Jennie Barkey, voted unanimously on Wednesday to work with the county delegation in the legislature to bring construction of a new state psychiatric hospital to Genesee County.
This is the same project that residents of Tuscola County are fighting to save.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has put a hold on construction of the new facility in Caro, where it would replace the existing hospital.
Whitmer said the location needed to be re-assessed.
Genesee County officials say their county would be a more appropriate location.
“Probably the best county in the region to put it because of the infrastructure we have,” Genesee County Commissioner Martin Cousineau said.
Cousineau wants to bring mental health to the forefront in Genesee County. With the Caro Center being put on hold by Whitmer, he said this would be the perfect opportunity to get it moved to his county.
He said the need in Genesee County is great, adding that a lot of times people with mental illness end up in jail when they need psychiatric help.
“The population, but also the need. I have a lot of data through another program that we have been working on to show the needs in our legal system that we have. People that are held up in the jail,” Cousineau said.
Cousineau said they are working to find the perfect spot to put the building. One of the locations in mind is the old Meijer location on Pierson Road and I-75 in Mt. Morris Township.
He said Oakland and Genesee Counties use the facility more than any other county in the region. He said that with all the freeway access the county is at the intersection of a region.
"We know that our location, our infrastructure, and our highly skilled labor force will save the taxpayers of the state of Michigan money," Commission Chairman Ted Henry said.
The Board has developed a work group, led by Judge Barkey, to develop a proposal promoting Genesee County.