Northern Wisconsin Center to Stay Open

A settlement has been reached between the state and the parents and guardians of patients at the Northern Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled in Chippewa Falls.

It means those patients can stay there indefinitely, despite state plans to downsize the center.

A year ago, families of several residents filed a class action lawsuit to keep their loved ones at the Northern Wisconsin Center past a proposed December 31 deadline.

The state has agreed to keep the center open for as long as it takes to find safe and adequate placement for everyone living there.

It's a bittersweet turn of events for supporters, whose long-term concern won't end until a permanent solution is in place.

"There always is a worry about it," said Robert Sommerfeld. His daughter lived in the center for 25 years.

"We'll just take it a day at a's looking a lot better now."

Sommerfeld said the decision means 200-300 jobs are secure for now. He also added that the state will pick up the tab for the supporters' legal fees.

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