• St. Cloud residents fight plans for mental health hospital in their neighborhood


    ST. CLOUD, Fla. - A mental health hospital could be coming soon to the city of St. Cloud, but some residents said it won't happen without a fight.

    The hospital is being planned as an expansion of the Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center on Beehive Circle Drive in the middle of a residential area.

    Poll: Should the facility be built outside the neighborhood?

    Residents have serious concerns, including how it would affect their property values.

    Channel 9’s Nancy Alvarez wanted to speak to management at the recovery center to get a better idea of what this hospital would be like, but no one would comment.

    Some residents told me there's really nothing hospital officials can say to convince them that the hospital should go here next to all these homes.

    The center, named after baseball great Darryl Strawberry, promises to change lives by helping people overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol.

    It’s nestled in the middle of three subdivisions and residents said it's never been a problem.

    “These guys play basketball out there once in a while, it's pretty quiet,” said resident John Dilullo.

    But they have major concerns about what could be next for this property--a 72 bed mental health hospital.

    “I would be concerned about the type of patients they're working with. I would want to know about access. Certainly traffic concerns will be a huge issue,” said visitor Jackie Patterson.

    The plans are to design the hospital so it blends into the neighborhood, and plans show there will be a major emphasis on security, with a 24-hour security guard, cameras and gates.

    John Mitchell is the homeonwer’s association president of one of the communities near the site and he's vowing to fight.

    “I have 400 signatures that say we don't want it,” he said.

    No one from the city of St. Cloud would talk to Alvarez about the hospital, and a spokesperson said all the details will be discussed a meeting Thursday.

    Mitchell said he will be there with his message.

    The St. Cloud City Council is expected to vote on the hospital, Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

    Prior to the vote, residents will ask for more time, to study the plans.

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