Owners of mental health facility planned for a site next a Gilbert elementary school announced it will seek a different location.
The Town of Gilbert sent out a notice Thursday night that the town will help Saguaro Springs seek a new site to build the planned behavioral health hospital. The company developing the hospital, Springstone, was in the process of finalizing the design of the facility, which was to sit adjacent to Pioneer Elementary School near Greenfield and Baseline roads.
That idea drew uproar from parents at the school and the homeowners near it. Dozens of parents and community members filled a Gilbert Unified School District governing board meeting Tuesday asking for help to stop the hospital’s plans. Many had plastered fliers on homes in the Pioneer Elementary School boundaries, as well as made calls to town officials.
On Friday morning, what was to be a protest against the facility turned into a "thank you" rally by that same group of parents.
"We had a big sign up to say thank you to the LeSeuers (sellers of the property) and Dan Beuerlein with Saguaro Springs and Town Council. We just wanted to say thank you to everyone that they got involved and they made sure our kids are safe," said Patricia Baker, who was involved in the fight against facility's planned location. "They didn’t have to back out of the deal. They had the legal right to do this. We just want to make it clear, we’re very thankful."
Gilbert Town Councilman Eddie Cook was one of the people Baker named in her list of gratitude.
Baker said he has already asked Gilbert staff to look at current zoning language to see if there are changes that can be made.
"We’re in motion in making that happen," he said. “Businesses evolve and a hospital is not just a hospital anymore,” Cook said, noting there are a number of different services that can be provided under the label, “hospital.”
“We want to just make sure we’re able to address those general commercial properties or any property we have in town that, again, if it’s next to a school or daycare or residence, does it make common sense to do that?” Cook said.
Beuerlein stated his appreciation to Gilbert in the town's press release.
“We appreciate that residents in Gilbert recognize the need for behavioral health services and we are sensitive to their concerns regarding the location of our new hospital,” Beuerlein said. “We will continue to work closely with Town of Gilbert officials and hope to become an integral part of the southwest Valley medical community in the near future.”
With the change of sites, a planned meeting Monday with the community and town council has been cancelled.
“We applaud Saguaro Springs for working collaboratively with the Town of Gilbert and the Gilbert School board, and for being responsive to our community,” Patrick Banger, Gilbert town manager, said in a release. “Both the hospital and the LeSeuer family, owners of the proposed site, have been diligent in their efforts and sensitive to the concerns of the community. We look forward to working with them on the development of a new location. Our town can only benefit from the jobs created and services provided by the hospital.”
According to Gilbert, Saguaro Springs will create 150 new jobs for the town.
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