A few weeks ago, this appeared on the calendar of Community Board 6, posted onto their website:
CB6 Youth/Human Service/Education Committee Meeting, at Vistation Church, December 18th, 6:30
Presentation and review of a proposal by Urban Recovery House to establish a 25-30 bed methadone-free rehabilitation facility for self-pay clientele at 110 Beard Street (between Richards/Van Brunt Streets).
The meeting was tonight, and was exactly as advertised.
A number of representatives from the Urban Recovery House, including the owner, a very well dressed doctor with a British accent, and their PR consultant, gave a presentation that originally was a bit hesitant, but after a bit of questioning, revealed that they have closed on the property. Once they are approved by a state licensing agency, OASAS, they will begin construction of a five story building including a parking lot that will house a 25-30 bed facility catering to drug and alcohol addicted clients that can afford the $50,000 per month fee. It will be a closed facility where presumably stockbrokers and others in high pressure jobs on Wall Street and major corporations in the NYC area, and perhaps even entertainers, can recover in anonymity, out of sight of their friends and co-workers, but close to their families. It will be much closer than the Betty Ford clinic, but will be something like that.
After some questions from the committee regarding commitment to the Red Hook community, the floor was opened up to questions from the general public. The meeting took place in an upstairs parish and was pretty full. It seems that many were drawn to the meeting without seeing the CB6 notice, but by rumors that had spread about a drug-rehab clinic opening up. Chris Hammett, echoing concerns of John Quadrozzi, who showed up a bit late to the meeting, spoke out against the plan, citing an erosion of the manufacturing base in Red Hook. Others were worried that having a detox facility would hearken back to rougher times in the neighborhood. There were concerns that clients might wander around the neighborhood looking for drugs. This was allayed somewhat by a response that there would be surveillance cameras and someone at the door, although the patients were not legally bound to the facility. The understanding was that the degree of care would prevent such occurences. The doctor stated that methadone was not something that he believes in , and would not be something to worry about. In other words, there would not ever be a line outside the door of drug users seeking to buy methadone.
Mary from Dry Dock loudly complained that the people planning the facility should have done a better job introducing themselves to their potential neighbors. She claimed to have only heard about this meeting four days prior at a local watering hole. The presenters said that they were the ones who requested an appearance at the committee meeting, having called Craig Hammerman on December 4th. They claim also to have reached out to RHI and plan to talk to the Red Hook Civic Association (president McGettrick was right there at the meeting), and the Red Hook Houses. There does seem to be some sort of disconnect between the CB6 calendar, and local concerned citizens who do not check the community board calendar, or the calendar of this newspaper, available at http://www.redhookstar.com.
Jerry Armer, sitting in the back, finally got to speak, and he mentioned the recent unsuccessful application of the BASIS Independent School for CB6 approval. He cited a similar lack of communication between the applicant and the community, and suggested a two month delay for outreach between the upscale clinic and the community. The proprietor seemed a little unhappy, saying that it would cost him money, but a local architect sitting up front, who seemed to know about such things, claimed that two months is not a long delay in building a five story building.
At the end, Perian Carson, who lives right nearby the proposed facility, said that in reality it probably was not such a bad thing after all. Such a facility would probably be much better to live next to than the Ahava Dairy, which occupied the space previously, and was hated by its neighbors, had been.