U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer made a visit to the City of Cortland on Friday, December 2nd to announce that nearly $5 million dollars in federal funding is available to help transform a vacant building on the corner of Port Watson St. and Pendleton into a new county mental healthcare facility.
At the morning press conference on Friday morning, Schumer was surrounded by members of the Cortland County Legislature, County Mental Health Dept., Cortland Common Council, as well as Mayor Scott Steve and Assembly Women Anna Kelles, among many others.
This planned move, which the county says could take two years, will nearly double the size of Cortland County’s Mental Health Department and is designed to significantly improve services.
Schumer explained that the first $2 million has been secured due to the American Rescue Plan, with the remaining funds stuck in limbo unless they can be passed in the end-of-year omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2023.
“I am certain that the $3 million dollars will be in there and you’ll be able to take this building and do just all the beautiful things that we’ve talked about.” Schumer stated.
Currently, Cortland County’s Mental Health Department is located on Clayton Ave. in the City of Cortland in an outdated space that lacks modern needs like sufficient broadband service, critical disability accommodations, and the physical space to provide patients the amount of programs they need.
Sharon MacDougall, Director of Community Services for the Mental Health Department also joined Schumer and thanked him for being able to help with this move.
“This helps us move forward to a really positive future for our community. This merge into this building for our department is lifechanging. Not just for the services we offer, but because our department is the heart of the behavioral health community.” MacDougall said during the press conference.
The new facility will also help the County Mental Health Department with rising patient numbers. Currently, there are over 1,000 patients enrolled in its mental health care programs with an expected rise of 8% next year.