FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Park Center would like to rezone a plot of land near Coliseum Boulevard to make way for a new 100-bed addiction treatment facility. The vacant building sits at 2827 Rupp Drive and was once the home of a Verizon office.
The idea evolved from the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention, created by former Governor Mike Pence. The group was asked to assess the state’s drug crisis and come up with was to treat and prevent addiction. Allen Superior Court judge Wendy Davis is on the task force.
Most of the patients would be referred by an Allen County court judge and would be under supervision of the courts during their stay.
Allen County is on track to have a record number of deaths from opioid overdoses. According to Paul Wilson, Park Center’s chief executive officer, roughly 1,000 people will overdose on opiods this year, 100 of them will die.
Some people who live nearby they understand the need for the treatment center but spoke out against the proposal citing concerns about the location.
“It’s not about the efforts here to help people,” said Mike Conley. “I want people to be helped but it has to be located in the right place.”
Mike Conley, who lives about two miles from the building said the location is too close to children. The facility would be located near several elementary schools and high schools, along with Ivy Tech and IPFW.
“They are smack dab in the middle of arguably the highest concentration of children in the city as far as schools go,” he said.
Wilson said there would be at least two security officers on site around the clock. Residents would stay at the facility an average of 30 days.
“These people are in our community all the time,” said Wilson. “These people are in the community but they are just not getting help. We don’t anticipate that this is going to have any adverse affects on [safety], and we’ll do everything we can to work with neighbors as this proceeds.”
The Plan Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed treatment center on Thursday August 17 at 6 p.m.