Gov. Cuomo agrees to meeting with Ogdensburg psych center task force chair
Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 6:06 pm

By JIMMY LAWTON

OGENSBURG -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has agreed to meet with the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force in Albany, according to Chairman Chuck Kelly.

Kelly said he spoke with Cuomo during his visit to the Waddington Bassmasters Elite Series regarding the future of the center and mentioned the task force would like to meet with him and other decision makers at the Office of Mental Health.

“He said he could make it happen,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the task force has not moved forward with the invitation yet, but plans to set up a meeting sometime after Labor Day.

In the meantime, he and his fellow task force members are still seeking community support.

“We want to get more signs out there and we want more people to share stories. A lot of people have amazing stories about that place and everything I have heard is good,” Kelly said.

Most recently, Kelly said the task force has been hearing from families in the Massena School District who are worried about the loss of inpatient treatment for children.

“Apparently that is a big concern for Massena families and other families with children attending local schools,” he said.

Kelly said he hopes to meet with Cuomo and illustrate just how important the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center is to the region.

“This is a big deal, not just for St. Lawrence County, but for the entire North Country,” he said.

The state Office of Mental Health announced July 10 it would close six inpatient wards at the facility by 2017 as it reduces the number of state-owned hospitals and establishes “Regional Centers of Excellence.”