With the number of cases rising and limited psychiatry services available for local children, a Southold Town committee tasked with driving economic development hopes to attract a nonprofit outpatient pediatric psychiatric facility to the North Fork.
The volunteer members of the town’s economic development committee met last month to discuss how the Southold Local Development Corporation, a public authority established to foster job growth in town, can bring in new businesses. In the case of nonprofit organizations, the corporation is empowered to offer financial assistance, including low-cost tax-exempt bonds.
The idea of exploring the feasibility of an outpatient pediatric psychiatric facility, among other health care services, arose as committee members discussed ways the town could attract enterprises that simultaneously offer high-paying jobs and meet identified community needs.
Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said the town responded to a total of 49 psychiatric calls in 2000. That number, which includes many calls involving minors, rose to 81 in 2014.
While those numbers reflect a need for psychiatric care among people of all ages, the chief described the need among local children as “critical.”
“Emergency calls for children, like suicide attempts, are automatically taken to Stony Brook Hospital,” he said. “They’re released in a couple of days and when they come home there’s no real aftercare facility available [here].”
Karen Malcomson, program director at North Fork Counseling Service in Mattituck, said Stony Brook Medical Center currently contacts her office when a child from Southold Town is admitted for psychiatric services. The office follows up with each patient within five days of their return home.
The nonprofit counseling center has provides mental health services to children and families in the community. The center has 14 social workers and three psychiatric nurse practitioners. In addition, there’s a part-time psychiatrist, children and youth mobile team to visit youth in their homes when they don’t have transportation and a co-location. Of nearly 550 clients, Dr. Malcomson said, over 200 are children. In the past six months, the company hired five new staff members to focus on programs for young patients.
“The need is greater than we can fill,” she said of pediatric psychiatric services. “It would be nice not to have to send children to Stony Brook every time. If there was a way to evaluate the children here, that would be wonderful for the families.”
Several economic development committee members identified the 7,500-square-foot former Capital One headquarters on Main Road in Mattituck as a prime location for such a facility.
The building, which has been vacant since 2012, is owned by 9025 Main Road LLC, headed by Alan Cardinale of Mattituck. He did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.
The company purchased the property for just under $1.1 million in September 2014. It’s the second time Mr. Cardinale has owned the building, which he also bought in 1982 when it was a supermarket. Two years later, he sold it to North Fork Bancorp. The building operated as North Fork Bank’s corporate headquarters until 2006, when Capital One purchased the bank and its properties. Capital One announced in September 2011 that it had begun the process of closing the headquarters.
Tax records give the property a market value of about $6.8 million and an assessed value of $75,000.
Exactly what Mr. Cardinale will do with the parcel has been on the minds of town officials since he reacquired it.
In 1984, Mr. Cardinale had the town impose a restriction preventing subsequent owners of the building from using it for anything except professional offices, such as banks, law practices, insurance brokerages and medical providers. Now that he’s the owner once again, he could lift that restriction and restore the building’s availability as retail space.