Norton Selectmen voted to approve State Senator Marc R. Pacheco’s request to sign a letter in support of keeping the Taunton State Hospital open Thursday night.
The state Department of Mental Health has put forth a plan to close the facility, which opened in 1854, due to budget reductions. Most of the staff and patients will be moved to the Worcester facility by Dec. 31. Others will be moved to Tewksbury.
“We have a lot of people now that basically are homeless and a lof of that has been caused by all these cutbacks on these facilities,” said selectman Robert Kimball. “The point of the matter is, we really need this. And whether it be in Worcester or Taunton, I believe that the City of Taunton and the surrounding southeastern Massachusetts should have the ability to have this type of facility available to them.”
Kimball also cited concerns over people in the area losing their jobs. From the center of Norton, the drive to Worcester State Hospital is about one hour.
“I totally agree with his [Pacheco’s] proposal, and I think we should send a unified strong message to the state that we want a facility in the area,” he said.
Selectmen chairman Bradford Bramwell agreed, saying “ “It always seems that the people in need are the ones forgotten.”