As state mental hospital closes, town asks what’s next | The Augusta Chronicle

11
Aug

As state mental hospital closes, town asks what’s next | The Augusta Chronicle

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — When a small technology firm sets up next month on the grounds where thousands of mentally ill patients used to be treated, it will be a watershed moment in efforts to redevelop Georgia’s Central State Hospital, a sprawling 2,000-acre campus on the brink of becoming obsolete.

The Jones Building was erected as a hospital in the 1920s. Locals are now working on redeveloping the campus in hopes of restoring the region’s tax base.

For years, local officials have grappled with what to do with the massive property that includes some 200 buildings and encompasses a significant portion of this middle Georgia town where local officials cite a 13 percent unemployment rate.

They are not alone: Numerous state mental hospitals in the country have been closing in recent years in favor of a community-based approach to treat the mentally ill, which includes local housing and assistance programs.

“Big cities and small towns all have these huge institutions and are sort of struggling with what to do with them,” said Tom Murphy, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, which studies land use nationally. “It can be a challenge, but there is a huge opportunity.”

via As state mental hospital closes, town asks what’s next | The Augusta Chronicle.

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