Official to reveal downsized plan for behavioral health campus

photo by: Journal-World Graphic

The Douglas County Commission meets in the historic courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St.

The man charged with developing new plans for a behavioral health campus and associated enhanced services will present the Douglas County Commission with ways to shave hundreds of thousands of dollars off of an earlier set of plans.

The plans Bob Tryanski, county director of behavioral health projects, will share at a 6 p.m. presentation on Wednesday also will be the first look county voters will have at the campus and service initiatives. Voters will decide in the Nov. 6 election whether to approve a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the projects. Advance voting starts Tuesday.

The quarter-cent sales tax, if approved, would provide about $800,000 less than the cost of behavioral health plans developed for Proposition 1, a ballot question voters defeated in May. Proposition 1 would have authorized a countywide half-cent sales tax to provide funding to expand the county jail and $5.75 million annually for the behavioral health campus and new services. When commissioners agreed in August to advance a new ballot question to fund only behavioral health initiatives, Tryanski was tasked with working with county behavioral health partners to develop a new plan to fit the funding available.

Tryanski did not provide a written summary of his proposal before Wednesday’s meeting. Last month, he told commissioners possible cost-cutting measures could include decreasing the size of the proposed crisis intervention center and eliminating some of the restrooms planned for the crisis recovery residential unit.

In other business, commissioners will:

• Receive a space needs report from architectural firm Gould Evans. The report, which was made available before the meeting, states that the county’s space problems are “complex” and commissioners should develop a master plan for managing the county’s growth. Specifically, the report addresses the need to reuse the old county public works office at 1242 Massachusetts St. and to figure out what to do with the vacant space that will be left in the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center on 11th Street once the Lawrence Police Department moves to a new headquarters building.

• Have a 6 p.m. public hearing before considering a conditional use permit that would allow Big Springs Quarry to open three new parcels at its site at 2 North 1700 Road near the Shawnee County line.


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