A local recovery center is going in a new direction with their expansion plans. The Hale Foundation currently has a facility in Olde Town Augusta and they are looking to open a second one in South Augusta dedicated to first responders.
The property used to house nuns from the episcopal church. The Hale foundation was gifted the property at 3042 Eagle Drive to expand their mission, but neighbors who live in Green Meadows do not want the facility nearby. The Hale Foundation has struggled to get the proper zoning in large part because of the neighbors opposition.
“That is better suited to a differently zoned area,” one resident says.
Neighbors have 3 main concerns about an addiction recovery clinic at the base of their neighborhood. They worry this type of establishment will lower their property values. They also worry about traffic coming in and out of their neighborhood since the sole entrance requires cars to drive passed their homes. Finally, they are concerned about safety for their kids and grandchildren.
Another resident says, “this is a residential neighborhood and we’d like to keep it that way.”
The Hale Foundation still wants to turn the property into a recovery center, but now they want the facility to be specifically for first responders struggling with addiction.
“It could be a 30 bed facility. It’s a beautiful piece of property, says organization president Cliff Richards.
Recently, Richards was approached by a few men involved with local law enforcement. One of them works with the Police Benevolent Foundation.
“His job is to help first responders who struggle with PTSD and substance abuse. He said there is just a tremendous need for facilities for first responders,” Richards says.
Richards explains why is it important to have a treatment center that is specifically geared towards for first responders.
“When they suffer from traumatic incidents from their job, they suffer from PTSD and they go into treatment programs, a conventional treatment program because of some of the things they’ve been exposed to and experienced, it’s hard for them to really feel comfortable opening up and sharing and it seems to not have as much therapeutic value so by having an exclusive facility just for first responders, it will be an environment where they feel comfortable,” Richards points out
Richards hopes the new focus helps them get the zoning change needed to make it happen.
“We have some of the local law makers are invited to a luncheon to just kind of discuss the possibilities of this,” Richards says.
State Representatve Jodi Lott is one law maker who will be at the luncheon. She backs the plan and says if done correctly, it could be a great partnership with state and local leaders and the community to serve those who serve us.