A $200,000 property donation facilitates $1M in state funding for mental health facility

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A $200,000 property donation facilitates $1M in state funding for mental health facility

June 28, 2017 - 10:21


Former wastewater treatment facility adjacent to Health Department on Forest Oaks Blvd, now an empty parcel.

One year ago, we covered the approval by the Board of County Commissioners to sell an empty 8 acre lot that was once a wastewater treatment facility adjacent to the Health Department on Forest Oaks Blvd to the National Alliance of Mental Health, Hernando. The commission agreed to sell the lot to NAMI for $10 plus closing costs, although NAMI offered $8000 for it. A letter written by NAMI President, David Lambert, presented to the commission NAMI’s intention to build a facility to bring additional mental health services to the community through a partnership with Vincent House out of Pinellas Park. In addition to housing the Vincent program, the facility would also function as the headquarters for NAMI, Hernando.

An amount of $250,000 in funding had already been secured during the previous legislative session. Plans were in the works to ask for a $1 million appropriation during the 2017 Legislative Session, backed by Rep. Blaise Ingoglia and Wilton Simpson.

After the approval of the sale by the BOCC, there was some outcry over giving away a property valued at $200,000.

Fast Forward

In February 2017, NAMI Hernando and Vincent House began a campaign to gain support and donations to the Vincent House project which would be called Vincent Academy, delivering a presentation to business and community leaders.

In order to bring their services to the community prior to the completion of construction on the Vincent Academy building, NAMI requested to lease a 2,870 square foot space in the Forest Oaks Goverment Center formerly occupied by Hernando County Utilities.

The lease request was delayed in March due to the possibility of using the space as temporary facilities for the Clerk of Court and Record Storage.

At the May 9, 2017 BOCC meeting, the lease agreement was approved. NAMI Hernando will be leasing the space for $2000 per month for the first year and if needed the second year lease would increase to $2060 per month. NAMI Hernando requested to bring the monthly lease down to $2000 from $2,870.

Governor Scott approved the $1 million appropriation request for construction of the Vincent Academy facility earlier this month. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.