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Despite talks, state officials say MV Psych Center still closing

By NICOLE HART

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - There seemed to be more questions than answers that came from a meeting Monday afternoon at the Capitol, with the million dollar question still hanging in the air, "what's next" when it comes to the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in Utica?

After months of protesting and talks, Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi were at the capitol, along with other state and local officials, to discuss the future of the Psychiatric Center.

Assemblyman Brindisi says that despite the talks on Monday, Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center will close.

"We were able to obtain from them a commitment that most of the jobs will be saved, either through Central New York Psychiatric Center or Hutchings or other facilities in the area," Brindisi said. "There's a commitment from OMH (Office of Mental Health) to expand outpatient services within the area, sitting down and coming up with some kind of a re-use plan for the campus so it's no longer an eyesore to members of the community in West Utica. Keeping the children's center there was always a big point Senator Griffo and I pushed for. We wanted to see a commitment from the Office of Mental Health to keep the children's center there and we think and we're confident that for the forseeable future, they will keep the children's center within Utica."

However, other local officials who were also at Monday's meeting, including Utica Common Councilor at Large Jim Zecca, Oneida County Legislator Harmony Speciale, Utica Councilman Frank Vescera and community advocate Tim Trent, say they won't allow the closure of the psych center and plan to continue their efforts of opposition to the move.

Assemblyman Brindisi says that the state is working closely with them to ensure the lowest number of job losses possible. According to Brindisi, as of now, that number of jobs lost is hovering around 20. The rest of the employees at the psych center will be offered transfers to other facilities.

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