Plans for methadone clinic scrapped
Plans to open a methadone clinic in what residents say is a residential area are scrapped. Our Berkshire County reporter Brandon Walker has more on what happened and why opponents say their crusade isn't over.
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- "There are other places Spectrum can go," Debbie Dwyer said.
"I don't even think the location was fit for what they were doing," Mark Barile said.
Apparently the owner of 1517 Stoddard Avenue agrees, deciding not to lease his building to a company that wanted to open a methadone clinic there.
Residents opposed to Spectrum Health Systems' plan for the Stoddard Ave. site voiced their relief and continued concern during Tuesday's city council meeting.
"Not by any stretch is this the end of it. It has to stay out of residential neighborhoods," Robert Skowron said.
Dwyer said, "We've offered to help them find some places if they wanted to call on us."
That's been the issue: The people's input, which residents who live around the site say wasn't solicited.
For nearly two weeks now, they've picketed and met with Mayor Bianchi trying to block the move. The clinic would treat heroin addicts and must be placed in the city, per a state mandate. Now, with the location up in the air, housing advocates say their work isn't done.
"We’d rather see it a commercial building and personally having it be in the hospital would be, we think, would be a good idea because it's a treatment and should be in a treatment facility," said Carolyn Valli, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity Executive Director.
Residents aren't the only ones who say they were in the dark. City leaders urging the mayor to keep lines of communication open. Mayor Bianchi himself vowing to make sure the community's voice is heard.
"There seems to be a breakdown in communication here,” City Council member Christine Yon said. “I should have been notified."
The council met with Mayor Bianchi off the record during a closed door executive session to discuss continued litigation on the matter. Whatever happens there, it's still believed the clinic will open here in the city. The question now, though, is where.