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Chamber supports zoning change for behaviorial health facility

The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is supporting a change of zoning request on a parcel in Danville that would allow the development of a new behavioral health facility. The property, currently owned by the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, is zoned residential. Geisinger is asking Borough Council to change the zoning to highway commercial to allow for the development. Council is scheduled to consider the matter at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 25th at 6:00 p.m.

If the zoning change is granted, Geisinger would purchase the property and partner with Acadia Healthcare to provide acute care for adult mood disorders, trauma and stress-related disorders, and older adult/geriatric and child/adolescent psychiatric units. Acadia Healthcare manages 238 facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including over 30 behavioral health centers in Pennsylvania.

“Behavioral health services are a critical need in our area, and have increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fred Gaffney, Chamber President. “People in need of services are taking up emergency room beds in local hospitals, increasing the demand for human services, and preventing them from reentering the workforce, which is a critical issue for local employers of all sizes. While this facility would not be able to serve everyone in need, the situation only gets worse each day with current, limited treatment resources in our area.”

The location was chosen due to its close proximity to other Geisinger facilities. Once developed, the hospital would generate new tax revenue for the Borough and job opportunities. The Chamber Board is encouraging the Borough to not only approve the zoning change, but work with Geisinger during the land-development process to develop the facility efficiently, while balancing the safety and other interests of the surrounding community.