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Greene Valley facility closure extended through May

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GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. - The Greene Valley Developmental Center is set to close for good soon, and only 13 residents still remain. The state-run facility in Greeneville for people with disabilities is closing in compliance with a court order.

County mayor David Crum said he's still frustrated by the decision to close the facility, worried about the residents who will no longer live with an on-site medical facility.

"Who's going to know that patient who may have lived their entire life there?" Crum said. "That that doctor and that staff understands that nonverbal communications."

Cara Kumari, the communications director for the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, said patients moving will still receive good treatment.

"The same standards that Greene Valley was federally required to follow as an ICSIID, it's the same level of care standards that have to be followed by all of these homes," Kumari said.

Sixteen four-person homes contracted by the state and built for the patients span Greene, Roan, Knox, and Hamilton counties. Greene Valley was scheduled to close Friday, but because of weather delays in Chattanooga, Kumari said moving the remaining patients could extend through the end of May.

She said many families are excited to have their loved ones closer to their home.

"They used to travel two and half hours to Greeneville to visit their loved one and now that person is going to be right really in their backyard," Kumari said. "That was a tremendous blessing to them."

Kumari insists the patients have a new level of independence in the community homes.

But paired with the fact that more than 250 Greene Valley employees are losing their jobs by the end of the month, Crum said he believes the closure is bad for the local economy as well as Greene Valley's patients.

"I just don't think it's the best care and treatment for the individuals that have been there," he said.

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