Medina residents nearby the former Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant on West Liberty Street said Monday night they are not against having a drug abuse recovery center in the city. They are opposed to having it at 538 W. Liberty St., site of the vacant restaurant.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier and County Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry spoke in favor of the center during a meeting of Medina City Council’s Finance Committee meeting Monday. About 75 people packed the room.
Perry secured a $300,000 state grant to get the project started. She said there is a two-year period to use the grant.
“It’s a community for people in recovery,” she said. “We are the keeper of the grant money.”
Perry said the goal is to run the facility as a nonprofit.
Her probation staff would not be working there and the facility would not be just for Medina residents. Instead, it would be available for anyone in the county.
Collier said there would be advocacy programs available, including life skills, GED tutoring, family support groups, wellness checks and legal assistance.
Collier said the people at the facility will not be mandated by the court.
“Everyone will be recovering,” he said. “I believe this is going to be an asset to your community. It will be a positive thing for you.”
Delane Nagel, owner of the nearby Spitzer House Bed and Breakfast, said she is opposed to the proposed location.
“You picked the one building on the block that is zoned commercial,” she said. “This is the third-oldest building in the city.
“Why not one of the shuttered places on North Court Street?”
The Gazette reported last week that the owner of the building, restaurateur Kenneth Collins, is interested in working out an agreement with the county for a lease.
It would be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
A Lakewood chef also has expressed interest in buying the restaurant.
Charlie Ramer, representing a group called the Bankers Row Historic Neighborhood Association, made remarks that drew criticism from people standing along the walls around the room.
“We’re sensitive to it being referred to as Rehab Row instead of Bankers Row,” he said.
He said there are better site options in the city.
“We want this facility,” Ramer said. “We just don’t want it in the neighborhood.”
Bankers Row is composed of homes on West Liberty and West Washington streets.
Ramer told Council members and the crowd he is worried property values will drop if the building becomes a recovery center.
Homeowner Jess Hazeltine said it’s become an emotional issue.
“This is scary for me as a mother,” she said. “I don’t believe an opiate facility belongs in that house.”
Perry said the facility is envisioned as a safe place for those who have completed addiction recovery and want to remain connected to a “sober-living” environment.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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