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Local Medina County News

Medina residents oppose location of proposed drug abuse recovery center

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    Delane Nagel, of West Liberty Street in Medina, shows a neighborhood diagram as she speaks Monday night at Medina City Council’s Finance Committee about her opposition to a drug abuse recovery center proposed for the vacant Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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    More than 75 people attended the Medina City Council's Finance Committee meeting Monday night at Medina City Hall to raise concerns for and against a possible location of a drug abuse recovery center in the former Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant on West Liberty Street.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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    Medina City Council President John Coyne gestures to control debate that got heated at times as speakers voiced support and opposition to a proposed drug treatment recovery center being located in the vacant Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant building on West Liberty Street.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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    Medina City Council President John Coyne (center) addresses a crowd of more than 75 people who came to hear and participate in favor of and against a proposed drug abuse recovery center being located in the former Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant on West Liberty Street in the city.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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    Medina County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. Collier appears before the Finance Committee of Medina City Council on Monday night to discuss the court system and probation department's idea of leasing the vacant Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant building on West Liberty Street for use as a drug abuse recovery center.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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    Medina police Lt. Dave Birckbichler answers a question Monday night about crime concerns in the neighborhood area of the vacant Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant on West Liberty Street. Birckbichler appeared with city leaders at City Council's Finance Committee meeting that heard support and opposition from people about a drug abuse recovery center being located in the Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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    Medina resident Valerie Freeman speaks Monday night about the neighborhood near the vacant Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant, where a drug abuse recovery center has been proposed.

    LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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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 rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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