COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — The David Lawrence Center has been looking after local hearts and minds for nearly 50 years. From therapy for teens to treatments for addiction, the organization has always been there. And that's why CEO Scott Burgess says it's critical they continue being there because more and more people need help.
To look after more hearts and minds, the David Lawrence Centers wants to expand the Naples location off of Golden Gate Parkway by building a 102-bed facility of property, owned by the county. CEO Burgess says, "We're sending hundreds of individuals — residents of Collier County, out of Collier County, to receive this care because we don't have this capacity right now. In order to build a new facility at our 5 acres [we need to] be able to increase bed capacity dramatically."
But in a recent meeting, the Collier County Planning Commission in a five to zero vote chose not to recommend the expansion to the county commission.
We spoke with some people in the community about the decision and they think having this expansion is necessary in Naples, saying that there aren't enough facilities for people in need. One local resident, Karen Fox, said, "I would highly recommend that we would continue to expand in helping out the community in that way."
Other locals had a general concern about the expansion being built saying "not behind my house" while they did agree more services are still needed.
The debate for this expansion is not over yet, as the county commission still holds the final vote. Burgess is hopeful his community still wants the David Lawrence Centers to look after as many hearts and minds as possible.
He goes on to say, "We've been in this neighborhood for 47 years. And the data would demonstrate that can be provided by the sheriff's office and others that we've been a good neighbor and do take care of our neighborhood."