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Bridge Center shares lease agreement amid questions from media

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BATON ROUGE – Hours after questions from media a lease agreement surrounding a mental health facility funded by taxpayer money has been made public.

The Bridge Center board members recently approved opening up the facility in a vacant building on Florida Blvd. It’s owned by former Bridge Center board member Collis Temple Jr. The recommendation came from the company RI International, who was hired to operate the facility.

The executive director for the center says since the lease agreement was between those two private parties, they didn't have a copy of it. That changed hours later. Both parties agreed to send over the lease to the center.

Through email, the VP of East Operations at RI International told WBRZ they do not have any concerns with the lease being known publicly.
“We are confident in the lease terms and are pleased to have a partner in Mr. Temple as the landlord,” said Amy Pugsley.

In the five-year agreement, the building will be rented out at $12 per square foot. In the final year, it will be rented out for $12.99 per square foot.

“We want to be transparent. We want everyone to know what is out there,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore, a member of the Bridge Center board. “There's nothing to hide so we want to move forward to help sick people. That's what we really want to do.”

The center is funded by a property tax in Baton Rouge that's been on the books for about a year.


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