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City continues protest of mental health facility in Turlock
County to consider contract at Tuesday meeting
mental health facility council
The site of the former Las Palmas Estates nursing care facility, at 1617 Colorado Avenue, is currently being renovated by A & A Health Services to become a care home for people with mental health and substance abuse disorders (Journal file photo).

Turlock city manager Reagan Wilson sent a letter to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors this week, reiterating the city’s opposition to a proposed mental-health residential-care facility near Dutcher Middle School.

The tête-à-tête between the city and county has been brewing for months over the proposed location on Colorado Avenue, about 100 yards from Dutcher, 1441 Colorado Ave.

Wilson began the letter dated June 19 by stating that the city “opposes the proposed amendment extending your agreement with Alamo Health and A&A Health (‘Alamo’), which includes their work for the county at the 1617 Colorado Ave. facility in Turlock.”

The city has claimed that the target populations for the facility will be “persons with severe mental health challenges, the homeless and persons recently released from state prison or county jail.”

The county takes issue with this characterization. 

“A&A Health Services provides transitional residential board and care for stabilized behavioral health clients in support of their recovery,” the county said in a release to the Journal. “The county had been placing clients at the same Turlock facility for several decades with the previous service providers. Any Behavioral Health and Recovery Services clients referred to the re-opened Colorado Avenue facility would fall well within their state licensing guidelines for admission.”

District 2 Supervisor Vito Chiesa, who represents Turlock and its surrounding areas, said Wilson had previously sent a letter to the county, prior to June 19.

“We responded to the first letter, but we asked if he could give us an update on where the project is, and he didn’t answer that question,” said Chiesa. “Now, he's sent this letter and we’re responding to it. But we’re not privy to land-use decisions. The city has the ability through its business licensing and the issuance of permits to allow or not allow this project. And for some reason, we’re getting dragged in as the ones who can make or break it.”

The A&A agreement is one of 100 contracts, with 72 providers, that will be considered at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

“The current amended 2023-2024 contract with A&A Health Services, which was reviewed by the city of Turlock, was used as the 2024-2025 renewal template,” the county pointed out in its release.

Later in the June 19 letter, Wilson accused the county of going behind the city’s back and admonished the county for showing “no interest in the effects of this facility on Turlock.” 

Wilson, who once served as Stanislaus County’s CEO, closed the letter by saying, “… you might find it instructive that (Alamo) squarely placed the blame on county government for not informing the city leadership of Alamo’s plan for the facility. This comment was made by Alamo CEO Betty Dominici in our Feb. 12, 2024, Zoom meeting with her team.”

Alamo, however, said it has had no problems in its dealings with the county.

“It is disappointing that the city of Turlock continues to confuse and misrepresent the nature of this project,” said Dominici. “Alamo believes that we have always had a very strong working relationship with the county, and we expect that to continue in the future.”

The county had been contracting with A&A Health Services for their facility in San Pablo, and in November 2023 amended the contract to meet the need to provide care locally with A&A’s acquisition of the Turlock property.

“I come back to the same thing I’ve always said,” said Chiesa. “If we’re sending people outside of this county, and we can keep Turlock residents in a Turlock facility, why wouldn’t we do that? Assuming that the zoning works for the city, and the state allows the licensing, because those are the two components that control the situation. But we want to contract with local facilities to put local people.”

The services provided at the Colorado Avenue facility would include help with basic self-care, including meals, medication supervision, monitoring health and hygiene, interpersonal communication, and conflict resolution, as well as social and recreational skills.

Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in the county-city chambers, 1010 10th St., Modesto. Those wishing to voice concerns can speak during the public-comment portion.