Bono Residents Upset Over New Health Center

 BONO -  It's a new life for an old region eight church. But residents who live near the church in Bono are concerned about who's moving in.

At a recent Bono City council meeting the state manager for a planned "childrens psychiatric care facility" tried to assure local residents that the facility would be good for the community.   some residents however were not convinced

The old Bono Church of Christ has been empty for a while -- but now it has a new owner with a new plan that has local residents concerned.

45 year Bono resident Jerry Halder is concerned as to who will be at the facilities. "Yes sir, we really don't like what were hearing, they say it's just gonna be a bunch of children."

The Methodist Family Health organization out of Little Rock bought the old church and plans to turn it into a therapy center for children.

Craig gammon, the state admistrator says the center won't be a home juvenile delinquents but will provide treatment to youth "We serve kids from ages 6 to seventeen, and these are kids who are referred by mental health providers.  This is a pshychiatric residential treatment center so they are there treatment."

at a recent Bono City Council meeting the purpose of the facility was revealed to the community and the reaction was not perhaps as good as it could have been.

Councilman Billy Stephens a thirty- year resident of Bono was disappointed that the use of the center was not brought before the council before the open meeting .  "Surprise and anger both, we had a couple of residents who live behind it there they was real concerned about it, and I can see their concerns."

One of the biggest concerns I heard from residents who live near the church is the fact that a fence would be built from one side of the parking lot to another, which would basically limit a homeowner who lives behind the church, access to his own drive way. >

Holder, "I heard they was gonna put a fence around it, a big ten foot high fence. But they said there wasn't nuthin to that it was all rumors."

Councilman Stephens and Eric Gammon assured me that the resident would not be blocked in although Gammon told me that there would probably be a fenced in area built behind the center as an outdoors recreation area.

Gammon, "obviously if were gonna have that many kids in one spot we need to give them some room for you know, some playground type room."

The decision to put the facility in Bono is not making local residents happy both with the situation and the appearance that it may take.

Holder, "they say it's going to be a lockdown, 24 - 7, it's just going to be a jail."

Gammons says the center will house up to 28 clients with over 50 staff members and it could possibly open in either late February or early March.