In February, several community members crowded into Washington City Hall to protest a mental health center’s request to relocate into a building on Ridge Avenue in the Highland Ridge area. While supportive of a need for a mental health facility, several community members expressed their objections to this move, as it appeared to be, yet again, a dumping of special-needs facilities in the Highland Ridge area.
The real question is why is Washington experiencing a clustering of halfway houses, mental health facilities, and other similar county organizations within a small radius of the city? Several members in the audience approached Mayor Brenda Davis to enlist her assistance in changing the law. These, including this mental health facility, should not be dumped into Washington’s backyard. Community members want the mayor and city council to enact strict ordinances to prevent clustering.
The decision by the zoning board was postponed for 30 days. This audience of concerned citizens asked that ordinances be changed so Washington does not fall victim to this type of clustering.
Fred Fleet is the president of the board of directors of the Highland Ridge Community Development Corp.