Plans nixed for mental hospital to be built in Gilbert

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GILBERT, Ariz. --  A company planning to build a mental health hospital in Gilbert has withdrawn its plans for that location.

Residents had voiced strong opinions against building the facility near San Tan Village Parkway and Boston Street.

In a letter addressed to the Mayor of Gilbert, Springstone CEO W. Earl Reed said the company is withdrawing its proposal to build the behavioral health facility at that location.

"I'm really shocked," said nearby resident and concerned parent Kristine Bradley. "A small community such as Gilbert can voice their opinions and actually have a huge company that's willing to invest millions in this town actually listen. I'm shocked."

For months, Gilbert residents have shown their concerns, voicing their opinions at town meetings about the possibility of a mental hospital moving into their area.

Many residents say the problem was not the idea of the facility; it was the location. "The location to me was huge," says Bradley. "We do have a school bus stop right across the street, a preschool across the street, and probably seven schools within two miles."

"We have plenty of areas by airports and industrial areas where this type facility can go in and be safer for everyone," another neighbor says.

"Like we said the whole time, right idea, wrong location," says another.

The letter from developer Springstone reads, in part: "Residents have indicated they will fight the availability of inpatient behavioral health service in Gilbert at any cost."

The letter goes on to say: "Though we very strongly believe the ability of inpatient health services would benefit the entire community and bring considerable short and long term economic impact to Gilbert, we do not wish to be the target of an extended and negative campaign."