State mental health authorities are looking to build a new, $115 million psychiatric hospital, replacing the current Caro Center.
Tuscola County Administrator Michael Hoagland says losing the center would be an economic disaster, doubling Tuscola County’s unemployment rate from 7.9% to almost 15%. The hospital provides 349 jobs with an estimated 398 spin off jobs.
A local economic study shows the state owns 650 acres in the county, enough land for the new facility and the City of Caro’s infrastructure can handle the expansion. The hospital, in the Caro area since 1914, provides a $54 million boost in the local economy.
Caro Community Schools Superintendent Mike Joslyn says the loss of the center will affect the entire community. It would mean the loss of per pupil money from the state and layoffs of teachers and other staff.
Community leaders are to meet with the state health department director next week to plead their case.
The state is reportedly looking at other areas in a more central location, possibly north of Clare. Several other communities are trying to get the new hospital in their area. The state wants to make a location decision soon, to finish approval of the state’s proposed 2018 state budget.