Covington County Commission Withdraws Land Offer For Mental Health Facility

The Covington County Commission has decided to change its plan to provide land for a mental health facility.

Two weeks ago, the commission held a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility that would house mental health evaluations for jail inmates.

County residents started asking questions about what kind of potential activity the facility could bring into the community.

“There was a lot of conversation that got started across the community and by Tuesday evening, the outcry had become pretty strong,” Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White says.

The cons began to outweigh the pros, and after hearing from several local judges and residents, the commission withdrew its land offer to those mental health centers.

“We have just rescinded any offer of property, and we also expressed opposition to the facility in Covington County more broadly than we had discussed before,” White says.

At the commission meeting Tuesday, county residents and officials were worried about safety and enhanced crime.

“I thought, ‘This, this is not a good thing,'” resident Patricia Strength says.

Strength lives two miles away from where the facility was originally set.

After hearing about the possibility of the facility, and listening to local leaders who were opposed, Strength researched and was alarmed at what she discovered.

“To think that somebody might, in that mental state, get out, have already committed heinous crimes, do something to any of us or anyone in our city,” Strength says.

The commission says it doesn’t normally schedule economic development projects for public conversation, but would have done this project differently.

“This may have been different,” White says. “I’ll take that challenge and say I would look at it again if I were going to have to move forward.”

The commission previously agreed to offer the land because of job growth it would bring to the community.

We reached out to the South Central Alabama Mental Health for comment, but have not heard back at this time.

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