To The Editor:
To Ogdensburg City Clerk Kathy Bouchard:
The town of Hopkinton would like to strongly support the continued operation of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, located in Ogdensburg.
The psychiatric center provides a comprehensive range of residential programs including children and youth services, adult services and a sex offender treatment program. For over 100 years, this center has a distinguished history of providing services to those in need from the north country, as well as throughout New York State. It is our opinion that this facility is needed as it is the only such facility located in this part of the state. Travel to facilities outside of this region would be a hardship for residents.
The St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center employs approximately 500 people who reside in the north country, make purchases here and support our local businesses. This contributes to the local economy and makes our region a better place to live and raise a family. Local businesses such as General Motors and Newton Falls Fine Paper Mill have closed and left nearly 600 people unemployed. The zinc and talc mines in the Gouverneur area have reduced their operations. Numerous cutbacks and layoffs at local hospitals and schools have further strained the north country economy, placing an unprecedented demand on human, health and social services in the area. The loss of jobs and payroll at the center would create an economic climate that will contribute even further to the need for services.
The current condition of the vacant and deteriorating buildings formerly used by the psychiatric center is a clear indication that there is no market or expectation for the reuse of any additional buildings if the center were to be closed.
We join in urging our elected officials to oppose any plan that would involve the closure or reduction in services of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.
CC: Governor Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Senator Schumer, U.S. Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Owens, New York State Sens. Little, Griffo and Ritchie, and Assembly members Duprey, Russell, Butler and Blankenbush
Susan M. Wood