From the Morning Memo:

Call it a lesson a civic engagement.

For the better part of the last five years, Republican state Senator Pat Gallivan and former Democratic Assemblyman Mickey Kearns helped lead the fight to keep the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in its current location in West Seneca, but they did so with the backing of the community.

The legislators participated in protests with dozens, maybe hundreds, of patients, family members and mental health advocates and collected more than 17,000 signatures to deliver to the governor’s office.

A state source acknowledged the administration received the message as it confirmed Tuesday afternoon it was aborting plans to move the facility.

“I’m very pleased that government has worked the way it is supposed to. People spoke up. We have a representative government. Their elected officials have listened and we have now what everyone believes is the most appropriate decision by the governor and everyone is very pleased,” Gallivan said.

The conversation between the governor’s office and advocates for the psych center was sometimes contentious. Just hours before, the attorney for the coalition trying to save it publicly questioned the motives for the plans and called for an investigation.

Kearns, now the Erie County Clerk, was particularly upset when Cuomo vetoed legislation last year that would’ve blocked the move, despite unanimous approval from both houses. However on Tuesday, he thanked the governor for keeping an open mind and ultimately making what he believes was the right decision.

“I know he did veto the legislation before but however he made the right decision today and he should be given credit for that for making the right decision. I am thankful the facility in West Seneca will be open. I’m hopeful that not only will it be open but there could be potential to expand services out there,” Kearns said.

The administration does expect to move forward with plans to expand community-based services. It also is exploring alternative uses for the Buffalo facility where it had already begun more than $5 million of work.

Gallivan has suggested using it to treat patients with drug addiction. Kearns said it’s a great idea.

“We have an opiate crisis in Erie County. We need more beds. We can use that facility. It’s a blessing in disguise,” he said.

The two lawmakers said, most importantly, they’re happy for the families and children in the 19 counties the center served, who will be able to continue to get treatment at the facility where they believe they are best served.