State official to discuss plans for Springfield State

January 03, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Nelson J. Sabatini, the state's health secretary, will discuss plans for Springfield State Hospital with state and local officials at 1 p.m. Tuesday on the hospital grounds.

Area residents are primarily concerned about the proposed transfer of 18 violent patients from Rosewood Center in Baltimore County to Springfield in South Carroll.

"I requested the meeting so we could hear what the state is planning," said state Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll, Baltimore. "We want all the answers so that we can act in the best interests of all residents."

Others expected to attend the meeting are County Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer Lippy, along with Sykesville Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. and Town Manager James Schumacher.

Mr. Haines said he thinks economics will deter the state from carrying out the proposal to move the patients.

"None of Springfield's units can be licensed for these clients without a large state expenditure," he said. "Why spend money to remodel when the facilities are available elsewhere?" He did not say where these other facilities are located.

Members of the South Carroll Coalition, which formed to fight the move, have circulated petitions throughout the community that oppose the transfer. The coalition expects to deliver about 800 signed protests to Carroll delegates before the General Assembly opens next week.

Mr. Sabatini had canceled a Dec. 29 meeting with Sykesville officials and members of the coalition in his Baltimore office.

"We want answers," said Kathleen Horneman of the coalition. "We were really disappointed at the cancellation and are tired of being dragged along."

Ms. Horneman has written to Gov. William Donald Schaefer complaining of the "sloppy way" that Mr. Sabatini, Maryland's Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, has treated the coalition.

The coalition has made repeated attempts to contact his department.

She also has written to the legislative delegation and the Carroll County Commissioners to request an environmental impact study that details the effect of the transfer on the hospital and the surrounding community.

"We want to see in print the ramifications of locating criminals in an area with low security," she said.

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