From the Huron Daily Tribute: Resolution: Board backs Caro Center efforts

By Bradley Massman – Assistant Editor 

BAD AXE — Huron County commissioners passed a resolution this week urging the governor to continue construction of a new state psychiatric hospital in the Thumb area.

However, commissioners elsewhere are hoping the state selects their county for the facility instead. 

During this week’s Huron County Board of Commissioners meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a resolution asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to carry on with the construction of a new 200-bed facility on the grounds of the Caro Center.

“Relocation of the facility would have dramatic, devastating negative repercussion to businesses, schools, and families living in the communities throughout this region of the state,” the resolution states. “The area’s economy is already struggling from the previous closure of state prisons.” 

More than $3 million has been spent on the facility before Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon halted the project in March to reassess the viability of building in Tuscola County.

“I don’t think they’re (state officials) looking at it correctly because it’s a population that requires special services and special needs,” Commissioner Steve Vaughan told the Tribune. “They’ve been able to provide that very well for over 100 years in the Tuscola facility.”

Genesee County commissioners passed a resolution this week to work with its delegation to the Michigan Legislature to advocate for the hospital, the Associated Press reported.

Genesee Health Systems — the county’s public mental health provider — stated its county has “three in-patient psychiatric hospitals that are able to attract the staff needed to make a state hospital run.” 

“Their public works division can’t even provide good water to the citizens of their own county,” Vaughan said. “Now, they want to add to the system that they can’t even fulfill the needs of the citizens that they already have.” 

Vaughan said having the psychiatric hospital built elsewhere is a disadvantage to the people in Caro and Tuscola County that live and support the current facility. 

“The people could drive from Tuscola County to Genesee or Saginaw, but why relocate something in an area where it’s not feasible?” he said.

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