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Coming soon: a drug-rehab center near you

From the editor

New Market Press art by Kirk Edwards

— Not all residents of the Little City of Vergennes are pleased about a proposal to establish a 19-bed drug-rehabilitation center in their neighborhood. Just ask a couple of the neighbors who live across the street from the former Briarwood Manor Nursing Home at 1 Alden Pl.

It seems odd that a facility designed to be used as a nursing care facility isn’t even being considered as such, by the powers that be. Considering Vermont’s—and Vergennes’s—rising senior population, it seems logical that such a facility would be ideal for the community. But then drug abusers probably outnumber seniors here.

There’s one Briarwood Manor neighbor who doesn’t like the idea of a rehab center, and that’s Kim P. Loewer. Loewer owns, and rents, two units at Briarwood Condominiums located across the street from the former nursing home.

“I will be one of the neighbors impacted the most if the project is permitted to move forward,” Loewer said. “I adamantly oppose the use of Briarwood Manor as a residential drug-rehabilitation center. The conversion of the property into a residential drug center is not appropriate for our neighborhood.”

Loewer points out that Briarwood Manor was originally conceived, and built, to be a nursing home.

“That was, and still is, an ideal use for the facility,” he told this newspaper. “I would wholeheartedly support the use of Briarwood Manor as a residential nursing home, short-term rehabilitation center, child/adult day care facility, youth center, municipal office complex, police facility, or other non-residential community center.”

We agree with Mr. Loewer—Briarwood Manor is not the proper setting for a live-in drug-rehab center.

Also, why haven’t residents of Briarwood Condominiums received informational letters about the proposed center as promised by Valley Vista, as was mentioned in one recent newspaper account? According to Loewer, no letter had been received from Valley Vista as of Dec. 13.

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