What is the future of the Central State Hospital?

PINEVILLE, Louisiana (KALB) – The overhaul of Central State Hospital has been underway for years, with lawmakers and local officials pushing for it to take on new life and fill a gap in care available to mentally ill patients in the region and in facilities. state corrections.

That reality is getting closer, with the new central facility now located adjacent to the Pinecrest Support and Service Center off Esler Field Road, remaining in Pineville. The current plan is for the facility to house 120 beds, but Sen. Jay Luneau of District 29, the lawmaker leading the effort, said he hopes to see that number increase to 200 beds. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

“When I’ve spoken to sheriffs across the state, their number one issue is that they have to house so many mentally ill people, and they don’t have the facilities to take care of them, they don’t don’t have the programs to help them,” Luneau said. “It just creates a lot of problems, and the expense is really, really huge. they’re getting better, they’re getting better, or they’re stabilizing, or they don’t have those issues, so there’s a great need, not only to reduce the population in our prisons, but to provide mental health support to these people.

For the current property in the corridor overlooking Lake Buhlow, which comprises over 400 acres, discussions are ongoing on how best to develop the property for new businesses and industries.

“It has to happen in a way that’s beneficial to the state, but more importantly that it’s done in a way that’s fair and equitable in terms of how we approach it and how we get there,” the mayor of Pineville said. Clarence Fields. “Also, not that anything is there. It has to be the right thing that matches the footprint and also the vision of the Town of Pineville.

District 27 Representative Mike Johnson noted the need for a master plan for the development of the property.

“You have to have a plan and you have to try to meet those needs in a coordinated way, so you don’t have a development that makes another part of a development less valuable,” Johnson said.

District 26 Representative Ed Larvadain hopes to see the addition of businesses seeking to create a future for young people in central Louisiana.

“We would like to create an area where we can only have sustainable jobs, $10, $15, $20 an hour jobs, skilled labor,” Larvadain said. “We would like to have that. But I reflect with the local actors, and I say: ‘This is what we want. Let’s go out. Let’s take money for LEDs. Let’s find employers who want to grow. Because if we don’t bring in the kind of businesses we want, we’re just going to get anybody. And I don’t want just anyone. I don’t want to build a hamburger franchise where you bet on $9, $10 an hour. No. We want good, sustainable jobs so we can keep our young people here.

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