Today’s news:

Transitional housing for Bronx State

Bronx Psychiatric Center is currently floating a long-term plan to replace two large buildings on its campus off Waters Place with five smaller buildings housing those suffering from mental impairments.

According to Jill Daniels, spokeswoman for the State Office of Mental Health, a new development that consists of a residential “village” for those suffering from mental illness will cater to the special population.

“The Bronx Psychiatric Center and Bronx Children’s Hospital are 60-year-old buildings in great need of repair and update,” Daniels said. “The BPC redevelopment consists of five new buildings, including a residential village, an adult psychiatric center, and children’s psychiatric center.”

Daniels said that the residential village would include transitional housing, a crisis residence and crisis stabilization housing, and single room occupancy units.

“It is a really long-term plan,” Daniels said. “It should take about five years.”

The property sits in Community Board 11, but also straddles Community Board 10.

“I have asked [BPC and OMH] to come to our committee meeting and tell us what their master plan for the property and the effect it will have on the surrounding community,” said CB 11 district manager John Fratta.

While the BPC property, which is sandwiched in between the Hutch Metro Center and Hutchinson River Parkway’s exit 2 is not surrounded by residential housing, people living nearby were nevertheless concerned about the prospect of having those suffering from mental impairments close to their community.

Anita Valenti, a resident of Pelham Bay for the past 60 years, said a teenager that was later identified as a Bronx Psychiatric Center patient was once found sleeping on her couch, having entered her house without consent.

“At first I thought it was my son who fell asleep on the couch, and I realized it wasn’t him because this person was wearing purple socks,” Valenti said, recalling an event from many years ago. “We realized he wasn’t going to harm us. My husband escorted him out. The next morning we saw that he had taken his sneakers off in our hallway, and worn my daughter’s sneakers out. He was from the Bronx Psychiatric Center. That was a scary experience.”

BPC officials are already moving in the process of putting out a BID to move two little league fields currently on Waters Place next to Hutchinson River Parkway’s exit 2 in anticipation of the construction. Parkchester Little League uses the fields. League president Dean Ricks expressed his concern that only one of the two fields the league currently uses will be reconstructed near the rear of the BPC property, leaving the league without a T-Ball field for younger children.

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