Gilbert neighbors continue fight against new mental health hospital

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GILBERT, Ariz.--- More than 100 neighbors showed up to meet with developers of a new mental health hospital in Gilbert Tuesday night.

The Kentucky-based company closed the meeting, held in a hotel, to cameras.

The company wants to build a 72-bed mental health facility in a dirt lot, near the corner of SanTan Village Parkway and Boston Street in Gilbert.

Neighbors, who successfully fought a similar proposal just a few months ago, are again fighting the new hospital, called Saguaro Springs.

"We're here to say: right idea, but wrong place," Tony Lube told 3TV.

Hospital representatives say they are building because the need for mental health treatment is growing in the Valley.  Their doctors would treat depression and other illnesses and disorders.

Neighbors say they have security concerns, since the hospital is not fenced.

"Our fear is an individual getting off meds and going rogue," Lube added.

"We're hoping they hear us and move the hospital away from homes and schools. The East Valley needs mental health facilities, but not this close,"  said Kristina Bradley.

Area residents are also worried about a drop in home values.

"Who would want to invest or build next to a mental hospital?  Not gonna happen," Lube said.

While most at the meeting oppose the hospital, a few support it.

"I don't see the problem. We're better served here, and would have a safer community with more mental health treatment," Blanca Bertrand told 3TV.

Hospital officials say their project would bring 150 good jobs to the area.

Upcoming Town of Gilbert meetings will decide the future of the Saguaro Springs project.