This week Guilford County got a step closer to finding money for its coming new mental health care facility expected to cost about $20 million and open in two years.  The county is undertaking a massive initiative with Cone Health and other partners to provide mental health care in the county in a greatly improved way.

The good news is that, with the filing of a new bill on Friday, March 15, the State of North Carolina got serious about chipping in to help pay for the mental health center that will be built on Third St. in Greensboro, in Maple Professional Park – near where Summit Ave. and E. Wendover Ave. meet.

State Rep. Jon Hardister, one of the primary sponsors of the new bill, told the Rhino Timesbefore the bill was filed that he’s optimistic that his fellow state legislators will get on board and help fund the project.

The bill filed calls for the state to “provide a grant-in-aid to Guilford County for the construction of a facility-based mental-health crisis center to serve adults in Guilford County.”

The bill, if approved, would take $3.85 million from the state’s 2019-2020 budget and an equal amount from the 2020-2021 budget. That money would come from the budget’s General Fund.  The bill would also take $2.3 million from the Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund and give it to the county.  That fund was established by the state four years ago to expand the number of beds dedicated to behavioral health treatment in North Carolina.

Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips, who’s been overseeing the effort for the county, said that no one should count their chickens before they hatch but he added that this was a very positive development.

In all, the state money would cover about half the cost of the building.

“It’s not done until it’s done,” Phillips said.  “But that’s the plan.  I’m really proud of Jon for leading the charge and super appreciative that the co-sponsors really get the vision for where we are headed with all this. People’s lives will truly be positively impacted.”

He said one positive sign is that the bill has bipartisan backing.