Neighborhood upset over new drug treatment center

Neighborhood upset over new drug treatment center

LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - It doesn't take long to understand why a quiet Lakewood neighborhood doesn't want a drug treatment center to open on one of its streets in October. Many neighbors say, "it's just not right."

"I have a feeling this is very, very bad that they are going to do something like this in our neighborhood," said one woman who grew up on the street.

Many on Alameda Avenue are upset with the City's Planning Commission, who just approved a six-month permit to Catholic Charities. The group plans on opening a drug treatment center for women in a building that used to be a convent.

"I have two little kids. I want them to grow up safe and free, and not to be exposed to that kind of facility. Because I want to teach them that's it's not okay to do drugs and alcohol. And when they see that, they are going to think there is a cure for everything, so it's not a big deal," said Ljerka Kovacic, a mother who lives across the street from where the new treatment center would open.

Catholic Charities say the treatment center will include 24-hour security and staffing, plus patients will arrive through various avenues, including the court system and hospitals.

"This kind of program can go in many different areas. I think the opportunity came up because this is a vacant convent that is really well-suited as a residential site," explained Maureen Dee with Catholic Charities.

The mayor of Lakewood makes it clear that a treatment center is needed, but the city only granted a six-month permit.

"The challenge is to work through the negative impact. Find out what they are. Make changes if appropriate. And if we can't reconcile it, we have a chance to revoke it. And that's how we will play this out," said Mayor Michael Summers.

Neighbors say they are considering a petition to present to City Council to revoke the center's permit before it opens in October.  

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