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Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 02/27/13

Augusta Rep. Wilson Introduces Bill to Allow Sale of State Property to Motivational Services


Buildings slated to be demolished; Mental health agency could benefit from purchase
Buildings slated to be demolished; Mental health agency could benefit from purchase

AUGUSTA - State Representative Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) has introduced LD 340, a bill authorizing the sale of state-owned buildings at the former Augusta Mental Health Institute to Motivational Services, Inc., a local provider of mental health care. The buildings are known as "the doctors' houses" and are located at 6 and 10 Arsenal Heights Drive.

The state-owned buildings housed forensic (potentially violent) patients up until last fall, when Motivational Services moved them to another facility near the Mayfair neighborhood in order to maintain the patients' federal benefits, which were only available to patients not living in state housing. Some of these mental patients have been found not criminally responsible for murder, and their relocation to residential areas has sparked pushback from members of the community.

"We need to ensure we maximize the federal benefits available to these patients to save state and local resources, but it is vital that we put the safety concerns of the community first," said Wilson. "The most important thing is that our neighborhoods are safe, and that people feel safe in their homes."

Wilson approached Motivational Services and asked if they would be interested in purchasing the buildings at Arsenal Heights Drive from the state, so that they could move the patients out of residential neighborhoods and back to where they were previously housed while maintaining their federal benefits. Executive Director Richard Weiss said that his organization would indeed be interested.

"The ownership of the two doctor houses by Motivational Services could be a win-win outcome for many," said Weiss, who pointed out the benefits to the state, the community, Motivational Services, and their patients.

The buildings are the responsibility of the Bureau of General Services (BGS), a part of the state's Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Rep. Wilson contacted BGS and found that they had been slated for demolition, not for structural reasons but simply because they were not needed anymore and BGS was not aware of anyone interested in purchasing them.

BGS told Wilson that legislation would be necessary in order to sell the property, so Wilson sponsored LD 340. Senator Roger Katz and Representative Matt Pouliot, both of Augusta, co-sponsored the legislation.

"It seemed like an incredible waste to just demolish buildings that someone is willing to buy," said Rep. Wilson. "So I see this as an opportunity to make my neighbors feel safer, maintain care for the patients, and save state government some money all at the same time."

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David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
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