07/31/2013 08:14 EDT | Updated 09/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Michener Centre: Petition To Keep Care Home Open Gains Support

RED DEER, Alta. - A petition urging the Alberta government to reconsider a decision to close a care home for the developmentally disabled now has more than 20,000 signatures.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says the growing support to keep the Michener Centre in Red Deer open is heartening.

Union president Guy Smith says most of the people who have signed the petition are from the central Alberta community.

The provincial government announced in March that it plans to move 125 of the centre's residents to community group homes or seniors facilities.

Friends and family say Michener Centre is the only home many of their loved ones have ever known.

Smith says in 2008 the government promised residents of the home and their families that they would never be forced to leave the facility.

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