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MHA email newsletter about Rep. Dan Frankel’s proposed legislation

The following information is from an email newsletter I received today, Tuesday, March 31, 2009, from Mental Health Association of Pennsylvania (MHAPA) it indicates that State Representative Dan Frankel is introducing legislation involving funds received from the sale or lease from state mental health facilities.  I included the link from the email that takes you to a form you can fill out to send to your state representative asking them to co-sponsor the bill.

Representative Dan Frankel is introducing legislation that would ensure the proceeds of the sale or lease of a mental health facility would be used to establish a mental health community services account.  The community mental health system would directly benefit from this legislation.  The legislation requires the reinvestment of the proceeds into one-time costs related to housing options and services that support independent living. 

Please contact your PA House representative and urge him/her to co-sponsor Representative Frankel’s legislation.

Special Announcement Regarding HB1448

The following comment was received from Representative Dan Frankel.  He added the comment to a post I did last night, but I felt it needed to be easier to access, so I decided to post it as a blog entry for ease of locating it.  Thank you to Dan Frankel for taking time to comment here.

“HB 1448 has been voted out of the Health and Human Services Committee unanimously and should be coming to the floor this March. It is important that the bill run clean without any  amendments. Any support and advocacy would be welcomed.”

Representative Dan Frankel

“Mayview hospital site has potential for development” 2/11/08

This article was originally seen on Monday, February 11, 2008 in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review it discusses potential for developement of the land and buildings that Mayview currently operates on.  With this on the horizon, I would like to remind folks to please support HB1448 and encourage your representatives to get it onto the house floor and vote yes to HB1448 as it is written to enact a law that would allow the money from the sale or lease of state run MH/MR facilities to be placed into a non-lapsing trustfun which would be used to help community based mental health services fund necesary support programs for folks leaving the state facilities.  Mayview is slated to be closed in December 2008 and it’s very possible that more closures elsewhere will follow based on current trends.  HB1448 was presented by Dan Frankel and a host of other supporters, it is my understanding it is basically stuck in comittee awaiting its turn to be on the floor for discussion/debate and voting. 

Mayview hospital site has potential for development

By David M. Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Monday, February 11, 2008

With the state planning to close Mayview State Hospital, officials are about to begin talks on what happens next at the sprawling South Hills complex.

At issue: Redevelopment of 335 acres with more than 30 buildings near heavily traveled Boyce Road.

The state-owned facility is in South Fayette and bordered on three sides by Upper St. Clair. Both townships want a say in the redevelopment plan.

A legislative task force headed by state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, and Rep. Nick Kotik, D-McKees Rocks, is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the hospital. The meeting is open to the public.

“The sole purpose of this task force is to look at the grounds and buildings and what’s the potential best use,” Pippy said. “We want to make sure this is a very open and objective process. There are no preconceived uses” for the property.

The task force of 12 or more members will include representatives from the townships, regional chambers of commerce and government entities such as the state departments of Public Welfare and General Services, and the Allegheny County Economic Development Department.

State officials announced in August that the Public Welfare Department will close the psychiatric hospital by the end of the year. The grounds and buildings will become surplus property under the jurisdiction of the General Services Department.

Kotik said the task force will “do a lot of fact-finding, looking at the highest and best use of the property, and the impact that it would have on the surrounding communities.”

Various interest groups, including people with environmental concerns, will participate in discussions, he said.

Mayview is being shuttered as part of the state’s effort to move patients from institutions to community-based settings. Eleven state hospitals have closed since 1979.

“I’m optimistic that South Fayette will have a strong voice as part of the task force,” Commissioner J. Deron Gabriel said. “Our constituents should have local control over both the buildings and land located in South Fayette, including whether they become small businesses or some other taxable entity.”

Mark S. Mansfield, acting manager of Upper St. Clair, noted the township owns a 470-acre park adjacent to the hospital property and has invested $27.5 million to build a community recreation center.

“Obviously, any redevelopment that occurs down there, we certainly want it to be something complementary to the park in whatever way that can be,” Mansfield said.

Redevelopment of other former hospital sites in the region have had mixed results.

In 1998, the state sold about 280 acres at the former Woodville State Hospital site in Collier to a developer for $2.3 million. Part of the property is a shopping center.

A Kilbuck resident bought the 407-acre site of the former Dixmont State Hospital in Kilbuck for $757,000 in 1999. Wal-Mart planned to build a supercenter on part of the site, but canceled the plan after a September 2006 landslide that shut Route 65 for two weeks.

David M. Brown can be reached at dbrown@tribweb.com or 412-380-5614

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