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Caro residents urge Gov. Whitmer to keep a new psychiatric facility in their town

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Caro residents tried to make the case to keep their local state psychiatric center open at a town hall meeting Thursday.

Earlier this year, the Whitmer administration halted workon a new $115 million facility in Caro.   

Consultants are reviewing the decision to build the facility at the century old Caro Center. Questions have been raised about the accessibility of the rural Tuscola County location, staffing at the center, and potential water issues with the site. 

The consultant’s report, due next month, may determine if the new facility should be built elsewhere.

At Thursday’s town hall meeting, Caro residents, center employees, and others argued in favor of keeping the facility where it is.

Cheryl Burlingame’s sister-in-law is a patient at the Caro Center. She says the care she gets in the rural facility is unique.

“I can’t in all my years being affiliated with Diane’s care think of a better place where she’s received treatment. I think that speaks volumes,” Burlingame told the crowd in the school auditorium.

Many Caro residents fear closing the center would devastate their community economically. The Caro Center is a major employer in Tuscola County.

Others see politics behind the decision by the new Democratic governor to pull a major state project from a largely Republican voting county.

A final decision on where to build a new state psychiatric center is expected later this year.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.