Controversial Plan To Close Clover Bottom Center - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Controversial Plan To Close Clover Bottom Center

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By Scott Arnold 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Before state lawmakers is a $50 million plan to move residents out of Nashville's Clover Bottom Developmental Center.

More than a 100 people live at Clover Bottom. It's known as a place that gives intensive care to people with intellectual disabilities. Their conditions are so fragile, there's the fear if they are moved some of them could die. 

The news of the possible move has not sat well at Clover Bottom. Linne Burkett has a sister there. She's worried about how fast the state will move patients.

"Not slowly accomplished, then the shock the trauma is often too much for these folks because there sense of well being and their sense of safety has to do with their familiarity," said Burkett. 

Similar moves, from similar facilities around the country back up her claims that people could die if moved from Clover Bottom. Lawmakers share concerns that by moving them, we will lose 15 percent to 20 percent of the Clover Bottom patients. 

State officials insist they've done this before at other facilities with positive results. Dollar signs are behind the closing of Clover Bottom. 

"It is the most expensive facility that we run, and the second most expensive facility in the country," said Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz. 

The state wants to spend $50 million to build 30 new group homes in various places. That's where the 108 residents will eventually go. 

That could mean 400 state employees would be laid off. The employees union has another solution. 

"Have the people who are presently caring for them at Clover Bottom, move out to those facilities," said Robert O'Connel with the state employee's association. 

Built in the 1920's Clover Bottom is a facility with a rich history, but because it has a $56 million annual price tag - change is coming. 

"The facilities are deteriorating to the point where it would require a huge investment to basically tear down and reconstruct the physical plant," said Goetz. 

When it's all said and done, it could take two years for all of the 108 residents to eventually move out of Clover Bottom. The state will still use the facility for a number of different things. 

Before anything is done though lawmakers have to approve the plan, and that could take several more weeks or even months.

E-mail: sarnold@newschannel5.com

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