‘These are needed services:’ Benton County commissioners to secure second building for mental health facility

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. — Benton County commissioners are searching for a second building to lease as part of the proposed behavioral health treatment center set in Kennewick.

Originally, the county was preparing to turn the former Kennewick General Hospital building, also known as the Trios Auburn Campus, on Auburn St. into a one-stop shop for mental health and drug recovery.

While officials did vote to purchase the building for $1.6 million dollars last Friday, a deal-breaker formed between the county and the owners of the KGH property in regards to the length of time one could stay and receive help.

“The property comes with restrictions, as a condition of the sale, that will limit what the County can and cannot do with the property, including what services can be provided there. This means some functions may not end up at this facility but that other necessary services will,” a news release said.

Jerome Delvin, a Benton County commissioner, said they are planning to “use that campus for other uses like adolescent care that’s badly needed in this area plus some transitional housing.”

The second building that officials are working on securing a lease for would serve as the crisis recovery center.

“We’ve amassed a little over I think close to $12 million dollars from grants, state monies, federal monies, and our own money, so we’ll be able to pay cash for the renovation of the new building,” Delvin said. “We’re not having to raise taxes, we’re not having to ask the taxpayers for more.”

He added that the center is something that is greatly needed for the Tri-Cities community as “people are having to leave the area to get treatment and that’s not good.”

“It’s just that these are needed services and we haven’t had any,” Delvin said.

Officials said their goal is to create a “No Wrong Door” facility for “persons experiencing mental health or substance use crisis.”

“You show up with someone, that person is accepted in, no matter if they’re combative. Staff is trained to deal with all kinds of issues,” Delvin said.

Currently, officials are hoping the center will be ready no later than 2025.

Delvin said the second lease deal could be closed as early as the end of the week, in which construction for the center could then begin.

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