Monday, December 22, 2008

Mayview State Hospital Closure

The state is continuing to work to secure jobs for some of the remaining employees at Mayview State Hospital, which is slated to close December 31. Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle Richman announced in August of 2007, that the hospital would be closed to transition to more community-based services for people living with mental illness. Most of the residents have been moved to group homes, public housing or with family. But Stacy Witalec, a spokesperson for the department, says between 30 to 40 patients will remain on the grounds possibly until the end of February or March. They will be in a long-term structured residence that will be staffed and fully-owned and operated by an outside provider. She says the state was still working to finalize the provider.

State Senator John Pippy of Moon Township is the co-chair of the Mayview Land Reuse Task Force. Their job is to find the best use of the more than 300 acres that the hospital sits on in Allegheny County. He says it's going to take some time to make sure that it's consistent with what the municipalities want to see done in the area.
He would like to see proceeds of the sale of the land go to a special fund to offset transitional costs and mental health needs of the patients and their families.

Senator Pippy says some of the land is environmentally sensitive with stream beds and steep slopes. He believes there will be a list of recommendations that talk about minimizing the environmental impact and protecting some of the resources while still allowing for a top quality mixed use development.

The Mayview Land Reuse Task Force has been meeting over the past few months. Senator Pippy says their next meeting is January 14th at Mayview. He says the website has information that's been compiled from the sessions and notices of future meetings. He says it's updated regularly.

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