Fletcher calls for health center on Hillcrest property slated for luxury condos

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SAN DIEGO — County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Monday that he will ask his fellow board members to consider developing a currently dilapidated county-owned property in Hillcrest into a facility for behavioral health services, rather than going forward with the current plan to build condominiums on the site.

The property at 4307 Third Ave., formerly a facility for abused and at- risk youth, has been vacant for years. The current plan is to lease the site to a developer for a residential project.

Fletcher views the parcel, which is in close proximity with UC San Diego Medical Center and Scripps Mercy Hospital, as a potential spot for a regional facility that would provide mental health services such as crisis stabilization, residential psychotherapeutic rehabilitation, substance abuse services and inpatient psychiatric care.

“The county has a moral obligation to tackle the mental health crisis in our region,” Fletcher said Monday morning outside the site of the proposed project. “Today, I am offering a new vision, a new model of care, to help people who suffer from behavioral health disorders. I believe the highest and best use of public land is to serve the public’s interest and am hopeful that this project will serve as a prototype that can be replicated in the four corners of our county to serve the residents of each respective region.”

Fletcher will introduce his plan for the property at the Board of Supervisors’ Wednesday meeting. His recommendation for the site will include a request for a feasibility study into what services should be provided at the facility, as well as what potential partnerships could be established with regional healthcare providers.

The supervisor was joined by other city and local business leaders, as well as healthcare representatives, to discuss the plan, which UC San Diego Health CEO Patty Maysent said would “help meet the growing demand for inpatient and outpatient mental health services in our region.”

City Councilman Chris Ward also expressed support for the plan.

“The traumas associated with mental health issues, substance abuse, injury and chronic illness create significant challenges that must be addressed when working with homeless and unsheltered San Diegans.”

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