The Sarpy County Board is re-evaluating its decision to build a mental health treatment facility across from Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue near the intersection of 25th Street and Highway 370.
Commissioner Don Kelly, chairman of the County Board, asked if the board was reconsidering its decision after the Bellevue City Council voted 5-1 to oppose the proposal, said, “Of course we are.”
He said Bellevue city officials have suggested two alternative locations, one at the recently closed Papio Greens golf course on 66th Street north of Cedardale Road in Papillion, and the second along 36th Street south of Cornhusker Road in Bellevue.
The 66th Street location, Kelly said, poses a problem because it is not near a medical facility that is willing to develop services for the mentally ill. He said discussions with administrators at CHI Midlands Hospital near 84th Street and Highway 370 left no doubt they are not interested in developing a mental health component.
Kelly said the 36th Street suggestion strikes him as ironic given that the city is urging the county to pay half the cost of widening 36th Street from Cornhusker Road south to Raynor Parkway, a project that is expected to open prime land for development. Given the city’s concern about losing prime development land at 25th Street and Highway 370 to a mental health facility, Kelly said he wonders why they would be willing to surrender similar land along 36th Street.
“I just came out of a meeting where I’ve been asked to spend 50 percent of $28 million on what’s going to be the main street of Bellevue — 36th Street — why would I put a mental facility on it?” he said.
The cost of the proposed six-acre site off 25th Street is just over $1 million.
“I don’t want to spend a million dollars on land if I don’t have to,” he said.
Kelly said the ideal solution is for Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue, which is the Bellevue branch of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, to build a mental health center on its Bellevue campus or even at its complex at 42nd and Emile streets in Omaha.
“We’re working with UNMC to find a different solution,” Kelly said. “At the end of the day, no matter what happens, the most important aspect of the mental health facility is co-location, or close proximity to an existing medical center.”