Rosewood transfer officially opposed

December 15, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The Sykesville Town Council is unanimously opposed to the transfer of patients from Rosewood Center to Springfield Hospital Center, which is adjacent to the town.

In a measure adopted at last night's council meeting, members also voted their opposition to the relocation of the Hickey School for juvenile delinquents to the grounds of Springfield.

Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. said he hopes the vote will send a message to the state.

"I am not assured that the state will tell us anything unless we make a loud noise," said Mayor Helt. "The area that makes the least noise may end up with this problem."

The mayor also suggested taking "a busload of area residents" for a surprise visit to the Baltimore office of Dr. Nelson Sabatini.

The council and area residents have made numerous attempts to contact Dr. Sabatini, secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Following the Nov. 23 council session, Town Manager James L. Schumacher asked Dr. Sabatini for a meeting on the transfer of 18 "potentially violent" Rosewood patients. The town received no response.

"They are ignoring us," said Councilman Walter R. White. "They have had plenty of time to respond to our concerns. They have an obligation to show up and discuss this."

Angela Lee and Shelley Counts, members of the South Carroll Coalition, who also attended the council session, said they, too, have been rebuffed by state officials. Ms. Lee said Dr. Sabatini's phone line has been busy for the past week.

"I think they want to keep us in turmoil," said Ms. Counts. "They play word games. It's disgusting."

The coalition has researched all available information.

"We know the state has to remove about 72 juveniles from Hickey this spring," said Ms. Counts. "They have to put them somewhere."

Area residents are concerned that either the Rosewood patients or some juvenile offenders will be housed in the 30-bed Muncie School Building, which will be vacated next month, said Ms. Counts.

"Springfield does not have the security to keep violent people," she said. "I am afraid those 18 Rosewood patients could walk right into Muncie."

Ms. Lee said Springfield could not guarantee the safety of residents living near it.

She said two murderers and nine pedophiles are among the 18 Rosewood patients.

"Rosewood is built for that type patient," said the mayor. "Springfield is not."

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