November 18, 2020
Mike Wright, Staff Writer: Citurs County Chronicle
Proposed Baker Act Facility gets OK, but animal shelter gets cold shoulder
Good news for backers of a Baker Act facility in Citrus County.Not so good news for backers of a new animal shelter.County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously backed a conceptual plan to provide up to 10 acres of land near the county jail for LifeStream Behavioral Center to build a mental health and addiction treatment campus.But they balked at Com-missioner Jeff Kinnard’s original recommendation that the county set aside a total of 16 acres for LifeStream and relocating the animal shelter from Inverness.Commissioners said they were on board with the LifeStream plan, but were not ready to make any commitment toward the future of the animal shelter. “I have looked at a lot of animal shelters in this state and it’s not going to be cheap,” board Chair-man Scott Carnahan said. He said taxpayers “don’t have the stomach” to sup-port spending millions of dollars on an animal shelter.Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach said the county needs a new ani-mal shelter and she is committed to making that happen.“We do not have a perfectly fine animal shelter,” she said. “I am going to shake every tree and call in every card.”
Kinnard said the Citrus County Hos- pital Board would help LifeStream with the costs to build the treatment campus, but it needed commitment from the county that it would provide the land and a caveat that should LifeStream cease to be the county’s provider of mental-health services, the buildings would revert to county ownership.
“This is a huge step forward for our community,” Kinnard said. “There’s a lot of momentum behind this project.”Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To view more of his stories, go to www.tinyurl.com/y3bakm6w