Concern over program

I read the recent article regarding the new state facility known as Bridges with interest. This is not to be confused with another facility known as The Bridge, a place for women recovering from chemical dependency. I am concerned, however, about the state facility, Bridges.

This is housing for developmentally disabled male sex offenders located south of Hastings Regional Center, within one mile of Adams Central High School and less than two miles to Hastings Middle School — walking distance. My concern is, how was this facility built without any public review? I don’t recall seeing a subdivision proposal on either the city or county planning services agendas. What do the neighbors to the west and south of this location feel about Bridges? I certainly wouldn’t look to purchase a home near this location.

I know, it was all about the money. The federal government mandated that the state build this new facility for community-based mental health services or lose federal funding. I spoke with a former employee of the program and was told that these people need to be in a secured facility. In hopes of monitoring these individuals they will possibly have ankle and wrist bands, but in hopes of rehabilitation they will be allowed public outings.

I have doubts about community-based mental health services. It seems that it has not worked in many cases and different states and it costs local governments thousands of dollars. Just look at the recent gun violence and killings of children, all by mentally disturbed individuals. The state of Nebraska has cowered down to federal mandates for fear of losing federal funding.

I have granddaughters who attend Adams Central High School. Be sure, I will tell them to keep their cars locked while parked on school property.

Chrisella Lewis

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