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Politics

Bangor City Council To Consider Moratorium On Controversial Forensic Facility

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A.J. Higgins
/
Maine Public

Bangor residents turned out in force Tuesday evening to let their city councilors know that they strongly oppose a plan by Gov. Paul LePage to build a 21-bed “step-down” forensic psychiatric facility on Hogan Road.

Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci said safety concerns, residents'  fears over potentially reduced property values and the administration's refusal to provide details about the plan are all the reasons he needs to seek a moratorium against the construction of any new forensic facility in the city. 

"The city of Bangor, all of us together as a community, have a right to feel safe and a right to be protected," Baldacci said. "And we also have a right not to be used in a political game in Augusta and when we are provided no answers at all."

Bangor councilors said they would explore the possibility of imposing a moratorium against any new psychiatric facilities to give the city more time to analyze the proposal, after many neighborhood residents said they would fear for their safety if the state went ahead with its plans. 

Bangor resident Paul Amoroso said the project would depress property values in the neighborhood. And posed a question to the council. "Would anyone here on the council or anyone in the audience, would you want this unit next to your home or your property?"

State officials hope the proposed Bangor facility will help the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta regain the federal accreditation it lost four years ago due to inadequate staffing and overcrowded conditions.