Middletown Passes Resolution in Support of New Forensic Psychiatric Hospital

Middletown Passes Resolution in Support of New Forensic Psychiatric Hospital
Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, N.Y., on Feb. 8, 2023. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)
Cara Ding

The Middletown City Council passed a resolution on June 6 to support the construction of a new state forensic psychiatric hospital to replace the old facility on the New Hampton campus.

The new hospital will tap Middletown’s water and sewer systems through lines to be constructed along Route 17M, a win-win for the state and the city, according to Mayor Joseph DeStefano.

“It not only saves the state money because they do not have to operate their own costly sewage treatment plant but also gives us opportunities for economic development along 17M,” he told The Epoch Times.

The city will also earn extra revenue by providing water and sewer services to the new hospital, he added.

Of the two dozen or so state-owned psychiatric centers in New York, Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center on Route 17M has some of the oldest facilities, and it needs major updates, according to a presentation to the Middletown City Council by a state official in January.

It currently employs about 550 workers, with most of its patients admitted following court orders of “incompetent to stand trial” or “not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect.”

The new hospital, which will be constructed next to the old facility on the existing campus, will house 300 beds with access to evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation services.

Total costs for the development are estimated at $280 million and financed by state bonds.

About 3 1/2 miles of new lines will be constructed northward along Route 17M to link the new facility to water and sewer systems in the City of Middletown.

An average of 36,000 gallons of potable water are estimated to be consumed by the new facility daily.

The proposed new lines can meet the hospital’s needs and accommodate at least 800 additional households, according to the state official's presentation.

But DeStefano has bigger plans. He said he is in talks with county officials to explore the possibility of investing in larger or additional lines simultaneously to accommodate future growth along the state route.

Following the city council resolution, the New York State Dormitory Authority will submit a permit application regarding the proposed lines to the Department of Environmental Conservation for approval.

Construction is expected to start next year and finish by the end of 2025.

Upon completion, the old buildings will be repurposed for other uses; the onsite water and wastewater treatment plants will be abandoned.

In the early 2010s, New York had planned to close Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center as part of a statewide consolidation plan to save costs in the long run.

However, the plan was later ditched, and a new hospital is now planned to extend the life of the center.