New Bedford residents push back against addiction treatment center's relocation
By: Ellie Romano
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) - Residents in a New Bedford neighborhood are up in arms after an addiction treatment center announced it wants to move in next door.
CleanSlate addiction treatment center has been operating on Grape Street in New Bedford for the past eight years. But recently, the nationwide chain announced it's outgrown that location and is looking to move .3 miles away to 52-54 Brigham Street.
"Transitioning our services to the larger space available at Brigham St. will allow us to offer extended services to our patients on-site as part of our whole-person approach to treatment, including in-house counseling, increased Care Coordination services, and access to additional addiction and behavioral health providers," said Carol Fite Lynn, the Director of Communications for CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine.
Fite Lynn also said the Brigham Street location is closer to public transit.
"Patients will have fewer barriers to access care, and thus an increased likelihood of recovery from the disease of addiction," said Fite Lynn.
Residents in the Brigham street area said they support the work CleanSlate does, but don't think their neighborhood is the right place for it.
"What is this clinic going to bring to this neighborhood? Nothing. It's going to detract from this neighborhood," said Barry Starr, who lives across from where the treatment center would go.
Starr told ABC6 News this isn't the first time an addiction treatment facility was proposed in his neighborhood. Several years ago, residents faced a similar situation.
"We fought it and defeated it," said Starr. "It doesn't belong there."
Starr is not alone in his concerns.
"We're afraid of needles being left on the ground, people walking up and down the street, cars getting broken into," said neighbor Brenda Lord Langlois.
Lord Langlois has 14 grandchildren and said she feels uncomfortable with them being close to an addiction treatment center.
Fite Lynn with CleanSlate said in the eight years the center has been on Grape Street, they've never had an incident.
"We offer outpatient addiction treatment services only," said Fite Lynn. "We do not store any controlled medications on site. Additionally, we have security personnel on-site during business hours who visually monitor the parking areas and perimeter of the center."
Before CleanSlate can move, it needs approval from the city. The company submitted a ZBA Special Permit to New Bedford with the hopes of relocating in the Spring of 2020.
CleanSlate will present its proposal to the city's Zoning Board at a public hearing on October 17th.