I was pleased to see a strong and politically balanced rejection of the recently announced plan
to pour more than $270 million into an attempt to prop up Moccasin Bend Hospital.
Rarely do we see agreement from both the liberal and conservative editors of our local newspaper, but in this case both said don’t do it.
Long ago it was realized that the local mental health facility was a relic of the old “out of sight/out of mind” philosophy of dealing with mental illness, and that perhaps it needed to be replaced with something more effective and accessible to families of patients.
I can clearly recall how the thinking evolved over the years until it was finally realized that the hospital is the wrong thing in the wrong place and it just might make more sense for intake and treatment to be located somewhere like Erlanger - where individuals are often taken in times of mental crisis.
Reaching back, efforts have been underway since 1954 to preserve the entire Moccasin Bend peninsula as a national park. It’s been a halting process. In a related matter in 2013 we came very close to resolving another incompatible land use by moving the police firing range off the Bend. After months of study and design that project was “temporarily” paused. Eight years later we are still waiting, but that wait could be insignificant if the unwise decision is made today to invest in Moccasin Bend Hospital at its present location.
* * *
After reading Ron Littlefield's article, it got me pondering.
Here’s me just thinking out loud. Don’t we, as a county, have a big empty jail building downtown? Wouldn’t it be easier to spend $10-20 million retro fitting that facility? It could be made into varying levels of secure accommodations to house mental patients and it’s right downtown near the Courts Buildings.
Then you could take another $25 million or so and tear down the old place on the bend and turn it into the nicest park, or whatever, in the area.
And then you can take the $200+ million that is left and address the homeless population, give some well deserved raises and maybe fix a pothole or two.
But that’s me just thinking out loud.