CHICAGO – Residents in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood are pushing back against plans for a new drug rehabilitation center.
Rosecrance, a Rockford based addition services company, plants to build a drug and alcohol abuse rehab home at the northeast corner of Ashland and Waveland avenues.
"We have a good reputation, we care deeply about the clients that we serve, about the safety of those clients and the safety of our staff, and really the safety of the neighborhood,” said Chris Yadron. “So in that regard, we are really hoping this is a positive contribution."
But some neighbors aren't sure about that. Some have placed pink placards in their windows simply saying "No."
"A lot of people in the area are really ticked off that they didn't get any notice," said Brian Levinson.
Others say the project feels like a "bait-and switch." The problem is the building is not zoned to host a transitional living facility, so Rosecrance is seeking a special use permit. The permit would allow the company to use the upper floors as a rehab residence with a counseling center on the first floor.
“I'm not surprised at the backlash, because there's a lot of stigma about substance use and those who have a condition of a substance use disorder -- all too often these people are perceived as criminals or degenerates,” said Yardon.
He says the home would have a strict screening process . No one with a history of with violent sexual crimes would be allowed.
“We don't want people to feel that this was rushed and we don't want people to feel pressured into the process."
Neighbor Tom Honeycutt says the facility has the potential to change the character of the neighborhood.
"Best case scenario, it doesn't hurt the neighborhood, but it's definitely not going to add to the neighborhood," Honeycutt said.
Neighbor Karen Valentine questions the wisdom of locating a rehab facility directly across from a liquor store.
"I feel bad because I know people need help, but I'm not sure this is the right place for it,” she said.
WGN News reached out to Ald Tom Tunney, who did not comment. He is reportedly not taking a position on the project and says the decision should be made by the city zoning board.