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Bainbridge Residents Fight Opening Of Home For Mentally Disabled

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

Bainbridge, GA - A local family is working to start a home for the mentally disabled, but some residents are fighting against it because of the neighborhood they want to put it in.

"They're talking about bringing in mental patients over here. And I just really don't think that's appropriate in the Historical District," said Angela Goss.

Goss is just one of several residents saying they don't want a house in their neighborhood to become a home for the mentally disabled. They live in is the Historic District of Bainbridge, Georgia. It is a neighborhood marked by Centennial Homes draped in Spanish Moss.

"Erin and I have taken it upon our selves because we have family members in this situation," said Tom Mills, a business man who is trying to open the home. "And we want to provide a safe, protective, permanent home for these residents."

Tom Mills and his finance, Erin Whiddon, want to make this a permanent home for the mentally disabled. For them it's a calling that started with Erin's niece, who is disabled herself. They would plan to house four residents at a time.

But now it may not happen. The city council voted against it for the second time Tuesday night. They cited zoning ordinances and public input against it. The concerns are primarily for lowered home values. The council left some room for reconsidering the ordinance but that could take as much as another six months.

"I don't mind them being here," said Jean Givens, a local neighbor. "It's not much different than the nursing home or whatever. I just really, truly don't have a problem with it."

"Getting them help somewhere else is important. Just not here. Not in this district. I don't think that's appropriate," said Angela Goss.

Erin Whiddon says if they can't get the house in the city, they may go looking out in Decatur County at considerably more cost to them.


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