Proposing government partnership in drug crisis
MOUNT VERNON — The decommissioned Rian Hall, on the grounds of Mount Vernon Developmental Center, is again a topic of discussion among various state departments and organizations.
In September, State Rep. Rick Carfagna invited three state cabinet directors to tour the facility — John Martin of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, which owns the building; Tracy Plouck of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; and Barbara Sears, Ohio Department of Medicaid. Also participating were Mental Health and Recovery Services Board executive directors Deanna Brant, Delaware and Morrow counties; and Kay Spergel, Licking and Knox counties.
Carfagna said he is trying to “create a buzz” about the building and wanted them to see first hand the setting and to imagine what a “re-purposed” facility such as Rian Hall could mean to their constituents and stakeholders. He said using Rian Hall would be a great way to address the addiction and mental health crisis now rampant in the state.
“This is a dormant state asset which could be re-purposed to address those issues,” Carfagna continued.
“The state, through the Department of Developmental Disabilities, is continuing to maintain the building. Taxpayers are paying $178,705 a year just to keep the lights on, so to speak. That cost includes things like heating, electricity and pest control.”