Tacoma moves forward with plans for new psychiatric hospital

TACOMA, Wash. -- The City of Tacoma is moving forward with a plan for a new 105-bed in-patient and out-patient psychiatric hospital.

The Tacoma City Council approved first reading for a plan to add a new mental hospital in the Central neighborhood. The proposed site for the hospital is on South Proctor Street and South 19th Street.

However, some residents say they do not want to see the hospital in their community.

“We hate the idea,” said Judy Mitchels.

The city is aware of the concerns.

Officials with the city say they will not move forward with the final vote on the proposal until the developer meets all the city’s recommendations. In a nearly 30-page document, the city details its expectations from the developer before moving forward with final approval.

Read the full document 

Recommendations include focusing on areas of traffic, the environment, historical preservation, and the safety and comfort of people who live near the proposed hospital site.

However, neighbors say they’re still concerned.

“Everyone needs health, mental health, but not in our neighborhood, not here,” said Rosa McClatcher, who has lived in the neighborhood since the '50s.

Residents say even with the regulations, they fear anything can happen.

“It doesn’t matter how much you train your staff and how hard you try to keep the facility locked, somebody is going to try to escape,” said Janet Hamm.

Q13 reached out to representatives for the developer this evening, but did not hear back.

One council member says it could be months before they have a final vote on the proposed hospital development.

The new proposal comes amid reports that another recently opened mental hospital in Tacoma, Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, remains empty months after opening. According to The Tacoma News-Tribune, Wellfound has 120 beds and was paid for with millions of public dollars, but it has yet to receive accreditation and is not taking patients.