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Local Medina County News

Medina residents take objections to recovery facility to commissioners

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    Medina County Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry speaks at Monday's county commissioners meeting after three residents spoke out against plans to locate an addiction recovery center on West Liberty Street.

    MARINA MALENIC / GAZETTE

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    Medina County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. Collier speaks in favor of plans for an addiction recovery center at Monday's county commissioners.meeting.

    MARINA MALENIC / GAZETTE

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    Homeowner Jess Hazeltine spoke against locating an addiction recovery center on West Liberty Street during Monday's county commissioners meeting. She said the concentration of facilities dedicated to substance abuse rehabilitation is already too high in that neighborhood.

    MARINA MALENIC / GAZETTE

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One day after protesters of a new addiction recovery center descended on a Medina City Council meeting, three Medina residents living on the city’s west end told county commissioners that they oppose locating the center in their neighborhood.

Homeowner Jess Hazeltine said placing another facility aimed at recovery in the area is unfair to residents.

“As a mother, this scares me,” she said during Tuesday’s commissioners meeting. “There is already a high concentration of substance abuse recovery facilities in the area.”

Cathy’s House, a sober residence for men recovering from addiction, is located on the same street.

The county is considering placing the additional recovery center in the vacant Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant at 538 W. Liberty St. The restaurant has been closed for two years.

Delane Nagel, owner of the nearby Spitzer House Bed and Breakfast, said she also opposes that location for the recovery facility.

“That is the third-oldest building in the city” she said of the former Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant.

The owner of the building, restaurateur Kenneth Collins, has been in discussions with the county for a lease. A Lakewood chef also has expressed interest in buying it.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier spoke in favor of the facility at the meeting.

Collier said people who use the facility would not be there under court mandate.

“Everyone will be welcome there,” he said. “This is meant to be a positive place for the entire community.”

The facility would have voluntary classes and counseling on topics such as life skills, GED tutoring and wellness.

Hazeltine, Nagel and west end resident Mary Sibley all spoke against the recovery house’s location on West Liberty Street but said they supported the county having such a facility elsewhere in the city.

“We want this facility,” Sibley said. “We just think there are better places to put it.”

County Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry said the facility would be a safe place for those who have completed addiction recovery.

Many recovered addicts remain involved in mentoring in the “sober living” community, she said. The center would give them an opportunity to both maintain sobriety and to help others.

Perry secured a $300,000 state grant to start the facility. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction provides such grants to help counties open centers offering services to recovering addicts.

The county probation department will administer the grant, but a nonprofit group and an executive board could be brought in to help operate the facility. In a previous Gazette story, Perry said county officials have been in discussions with Robby’s Voice, a Medina addiction awareness organization, to take the nonprofit role.

Grant funds also will support hiring a “house manager” to oversee daily operations. It is envisioned that volunteers would supplement the manager’s work in the evenings and on weekends in order to allow for extended hours of operation.

Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or nmalenic@medina-gazette.com.



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