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Metro Council backs off proposal that would ban psychiatric hospitals near schools, neighborhoods

1 year 4 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, February 22 2023 Feb 22, 2023 February 22, 2023 10:29 PM February 22, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Many people showed up to the Metro Council meeting Wednesday, including State Senator Regina Barrow.

A lot of them voiced their concerns and told the Metro Council to approve a resolution from Councilman Darryl Hurst that would make sure forensic psychiatric hospitals aren't built within one mile from a high density neighborhood and two miles from a school.

"We can not put our children at risk, that is unacceptable," Senator Barrow told WBRZ.

The debate took many turns. At one point, the operator of the building told the council, the forensic psychiatric hospital that was going to be built in the Glen Oaks area have already been built in the parish.

Councilman Hurst says that is not true.

"There were some things that were discussed by the operator, saying there are already three facilities like this in East Baton Rouge Parish. That is a bold face lie," Hurst said.

After that, council members then wanted more specifics on Hurst's resolution.

In the end, the item was removed, but the council did approve a study to make sure the resolution is legal and to find the best way forward with the issue.

"The win today was the study that was unanimous by the council," Hurst said.

Barrow says this situation shows there is a lot of confusion with what is the best method to deal with certain mental health issues and that needs to be addressed.

"Not only in this situation, but as we deal with mental health in general, there are things that we need to make clear," Barrow said.

Chris Richard, the President of the Glen Oaks Area Neighborhood Association, says Wednesday was bittersweet.

He is glad many in his community had their voice heard, but wants to make sure something is done soon to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"I understand it's a process," Richard said.

Once the study is done, Hurst says he will bring the idea to the Metro Council again.

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