Plans for a new inner city mental health centre in Windsor are moving forward.

The centre is scheduled to open in the spring and will serve people with mental illness and addictions.

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital is one of the partners working on the project, which includes 25-50 beds to be located in the downtown core.

It will be a voluntary alternative to a hospital emergency room visit for people with mental health problems and addictions. It will also serve as an alternative location for police to bring people.

Dr. Leonardo Cortese, a psychiatrist at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, called the plan "brilliant:"

Hôtel-Dieu Grace and its partners have been working on the inner city strategy for more than two years.

"It's good co-ordination of services," Cortese said.

The local health integration network is providing $1.8 million to fund the new centre.

Sonja Grbevski, the interim vice president of clinical services at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital, expects the new centre to open in April.

"Many individuals who need us are often right within the city and we want to be able for people to come and walk in to us," Grbevski said.

The inner city strategy is modeled after one in Fort Myers, Fla.

The centre will be located in the downtown core but the next step to choose an exact location. Negotiations on a preferred site are expected to start next month. A decision on the site is expected to be made in December.

"Accessibility becomes an issue. We want to be able for individuals access us when they need us," Grbevski said.