Controversy surrounds proposed new hospital in Gilbert

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GILBERT, Ariz. -- You wouldn't expect plans to build a hospital in the suburbs to create controversy, but that's what's happening in the East Valley.

Next month the Gilbert town officials will review plans to build a mental health hospital on a vacant lot. But some who live nearby aren't happy about their possible new neighbors.

Dr. Tina Cooley Staley said she might have thought twice about opening her optometry office if she'd known that a behavioral health hospital would be built next door.

Staley said she'd worry about the safety of her employees and patients if a hospital that treats those suffering from behavioral problems were so close to her practice.

"There are concerns about security, about patients coming in and out of our office, and safety in general," she said.

Area resident Roy Reid said he and others fear their property values will drop if that type of hospital is located directly across the street from the gated Annecy Residential Community where he has lived for the past five years.

"People trying to move in and find out there's a mental hospital right across the street, they aren't going to want it," he said. "They won't want to come in here."

Reid is also worried about the new hospital being so close to places along Boston Street where young children gather for the school bus.

The Town of Gilbert's Design Review Board will meet Oct. 10 to discuss the building of the new Saguaro Springs Facility. But the public will be invited to meetings before that to voice their concerns.

For more information about the new behavioral health hospital, email