Something is happening in Camden that could help all of Maine.

McLean Hospital, a division of Harvard Medical School, plans to locate a 12-bed residential recovery center on the 13.8-acre property in Camden called Fox Hill. McLean’s decision will bring 35 new jobs and $6.6 million to the local economy.

For McLean to revitalize a property that has sat vacant for 2½ years, a narrowly written zoning exemption is needed. The exemption, recently recommended for consideration by Camden’s Planning Board 4-1 and sent to the Select Board, is written as not to allow other facilities of this type there, and any future requested change would have to go through the same demanding evaluation process.

In addition to the economic impact, McLean will provide wellness programs, behavioral health outreach and prevention education in Camden and the surrounding area.

Here is a 2012-13 partial list of McLean’s outreach in other communities:

Providing educational panels for professionals and parents on preventing teen suicide.

Assisting in the evaluation of middle and high school students for mental health and substance abuse problems.

Offering physicians and health providers state-of-the-art education on mental health issues.

Organizing programs that screen for depression and addiction at colleges.

Supporting an ongoing public education effort on eating disorders.

Facilitating a series of support programs for adolescents.

Referring recovering individuals appropriately to community 12-step programs.

I urge the residents of Camden to contact their Select Board members to show their support for placing this zoning exemption on the ballot for public vote. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring to Maine what U.S. News & World Report rated as the No. 1 behavioral health facility in the United States.

Dan Domench

Union