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One hurdle left to open women’s treatment center in Greenfield

GREENFIELD — The only hurdle left for a nonprofit agency that serves western Massachusetts and wants to open a 25-bed women’s substance abuse rehab center in a former rest home on Montague City Road is to be chosen by the state to do so.

The Center for Human Development’s (CHD) site plan for a facility in the former Pioneer Valley Rest Home has been unanimously approved by the town’s Planning Board, which said it will be a good use of the property and will serve the area with a much-needed service.

Jim Goodwin, president and chief operating officer for CHD, said the agency just needs to hear from the state at this point so that it can proceed.

Goodwin told the board last month that CHD is one of four applicants that wish to run the type of facility the state is looking for, and believes Greenfield is the best spot for it.

He said CHD will invest about $300,000 to renovate the former rest home, if it is chosen.

The former rest home has been sitting vacant since 2006, when it closed.

“It has been sitting there a long time in disrepair,” said Goodwin. “We have constructed a plan to bring it up to code and turn it into a nice facility.”

Goodwin said the facility will bring 14 jobs to Greenfield, 11 of them full-time. He said the jobs would be a mix of professional and paraprofessional and there would be five to six staff on duty at all times.

He said the facility would house up to 25 women at one time, most of whom would stay for three to six months. And he said some women who have babies under 6 months old could stay with their babies.

He said the treatment center will be an inpatient facility, so people will not constantly be coming and going.

Goodwin said the plans are to raze the two smaller buildings on the property to allow for more parking. An 8-foot fence will be erected in the back because of the steep drop-off to the river.

Lighting will be minimal outside, said Goodwin. He said it will not disturb the neighbors.

Goodwin said if CHD gets the contract with the state, the state will want the renovations to begin immediately.

He said money has been put in escrow to hold the property.

Jordan Quinn, a developer who had said in 2009 that she wanted to open a bed and breakfast in the former rest home, still owns the property. She bought it in 2009 for $50,000. It is not yet known how much CHD would pay for the property.

At the time the rest home closed, it was 50 years old and had 22 patients and 15 staffers.

Regional experts on substance abuse said in a recent Recorder series on addiction that there is a big demand for residential drug treatment programs in the area. There is only one residential drug rehabilitation program in the county for women, and two for men, with about 20 beds in each. Former addicts expressed frustration with the scarcity of such programs.

To learn more about CHD, visit: www.chd.org.

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