RACINE, Wis. — On Monday, leaders in Racine County announced a $25 million investment that will help build a new behavioral health services site.

The building will be an expansion of the Taylor Avenue campus and will go on the city's south side at the former Brannum Lumberyard. 

The goal is to address the growing need for mental health services as well as the opioid crisis.

“What is this investment?" said Racine County Executive, Jonathan Delagrave. "It is one of the first of its kind in Wisconsin. You are standing on the future site of the 25 million dollar consolidated mental health services building."

Neighbors in Racine shared stories about what it is like to live in recovery.

“I was able to return to college and earn my degrees, help people and from November 20, 1999 to present day, I have not found it necessary to use alcohol or use a drug,” explained Darren Taylor. 

Other neighbors like Nina Frank stressed the importance of adding more treatment facilities in the Racine area.

“We searched for treatment programs for my son, but there were very few in Racine or close by,” said Frank.

Frank lost her beloved son to a drug overdose and explained how they took him out of state to get treatment, but he tragically relapsed. She is now on a mission to help stop the overdose epidemic. 

The new building that will focus on behavioral health services is expected to open in late 2024.

“This building will be home to therapists and providers, law enforcement and emergency personnel, advocates and community stake holders. It is our goal that this center will be a positive step in eliminating the negative stigma surrounding mental health while proactively serving those in needs regardless of the ability to pay,” said Delagrave.

This facility will also provide beds for 24-hour care that is outside of a hospital setting. The Racine County Sheriff’s Office will also be involved with this program and will use new technology that will help keep illegal drugs off the streets. The small laser device will help deputies identify drugs and get them out of the community efficiently.