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Visible community support is needed to help save psych center

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Visible community support is the next step in the plan to save the inpatient care units at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.

Ogdensburg City Manager John M. Pinkerton said the Psychiatric Center Task Force is organizing a campaign of lawn signs and T-shirts that will make it clear to state officials that the community is opposed to their plan.

The state Office of Mental Health announced two weeks ago that it plans on closing inpatient services at the center and moving adult care to Syracuse and child care to Utica.

The signs and T-shirts will be available at City Hall on Friday and Mr. Pinkerton said the goal to get the first several hundred signs planted on properties along Ford Street for the Seaway Festival Parade on Saturday.

“We’re asking residents along Ford Street to consider having them put in their yards,” he said.

Charles W. Kelly, St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force chairman, said having the signs out during the parade will go a long way towards getting public support for keeping mental health services local.

“We hope it will get more people involved,” Mr. Kelly said.

The signs will read “Help Save SLPC,” Mr. Kelly said.

The parade on Saturday begins at 11 a.m. and runs down Ford Street with awards being given out at the Library Park Gazebo at its conclusion.

Mr. Kelly said the task force plans on having signs all along the route and at the end to ensure the high visibility of the issue.

The T-shirts will be available on Friday as well with a suggested $10 donation to help the task force keep its promotional efforts afloat.

Mr. Pinkerton said the T-shirts read “Save SLPC” on the front and “SLPC = Excellence!” on the back.

“[The psychiatric center is] important to the community and we need them to stand up and be involved,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

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