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Campbell Co. Votes to Pursue Grant Funds for Recovery Center

Plans to operate a recovery center for addicted women in the Cold Spring area drew a packed house to the Campbell County Fiscal Court meeting in Newport last Wednesday.

The Brighton Center would operate the treatment facility on the site previously known as the Campbell Boys Lodge.

The Fiscal Court considered whether to submit an application for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for up to $1 million, which would be used to rehab the former boys home that closed in 2012.

The Newport-based Brighton Center already operates a similar program in Florence.

"We do not plan to run a meth clinic nor a needle exchange program at this proposed site,” said Wonda Winkler, Brighton Center vice president.

But the program's proponents have been met with heavy opposition from the City of Cold Spring and neabry residents.

Neighbor Dennis Glenn said the location is not appropriate.

“I have sat here and listened to you tell us what this is not going to be,” Glenn said, directing his comments to Winkler. “But what I have not heard were the benefits.”

Directly following the public hearing portion of the meeting, the Fiscal Court voted to move forward with its plans to submit the CDBG application. In May, the Brighton Center entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the property from the Diocese of Covington. 

Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery was not swayed by the threats of unfavorable votes on Election Day from angry residents, noting that sometimes you just have to do the right thing for all parties involved within the county.

“I have listened to all of your concerns and I want to explain our decision to move forward with the application,” Pendery said over audible sighs and jeers from the audience. “We have to consider all of the facts and determine what’s in the best interest for all Campbell County residents.”

Pendery went on to address many of the opposition’s concern about the possible increase in traffic, citing a recent traffic study that estimated that there would only be a daily increase of sixty vehicles on the road leading to the site. Pendery also commented on the crowd’s argument that the number of calls for emergency service would be more than the community could handle.

“The highest number of calls for service is, actually, to the Kroger at Newport Pavilion and we all go there, don’t we?”

“There is a desperate need for more services for people struggling in poverty and addiction,” said Amanda Peters, coordinator of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District’s Heroin Impact Response Task Force. “Jobs are not coming to this area because we are not treating this problem.”

Peters argued that emergency responders are already treating addicts in local neighborhoods, even if neighbors don't notice.

Local physician and Campbell County resident Dr. Mark Schroer told the crowd that you can’t just "support" the problem of drug addiction away.

“The body count is going up every day,” Schroer said. “We have to address this issue. You can’t support building a library and not build a library. Also, you can’t support a school and not build a school. So you can’t support helping women and not build this clinic!”

Written by Kareem Simpson, RCN contributor