New York State’s plans to close the Broome Developmental Center is getting mixed reviews from residents, employees of the Town of Dickinson facility, lawmakers and agencies that deal with residents with developmental disabilities.

Assemblyman Clifford Crouch and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo hosted a public hearing on the plan at Chenango Valley High School November 12.

Opponents to the closure say it will cost jobs in the region and force clients into sub-adequate community-based programs.  That’s a point that supporters of the closure take issue with.  Some local advocates for the developmentally disabled say clients can do better if they are allowed to assimilate into the general population.  They admit, however, there must be proper community support systems in place.

The executive director of the Southern Tier Independence Center, Maria Dibble, was the only one speaking in favor of the closure during the hearing.  Dibble says it was obvious that she was the only speaker at the session, that she said was attended by a majority of center employees and families, who did not receive applause following her address.

The state is looking to terminate in-patient mental health programs at the Greater Binghamton Health Center and close the Elmira Psychiatric Center and Broome Developmental Center under a consolidation plan.