On Wednesday afternoon, the Coulee Council on Addictions held the first of two informational meetings about the new recovery facility. The meeting happened at Lincoln Middle School which will be just blocks from the proposed 921 Ferry Street location.
Although there may be widespread agreement over the need for a new addiction center to serve the La Crosse area, many in the Washburn neighborhood are raising concerns over the location. The goal of the informational meeting is to inform concerned community members what the Coulee Council on Addictions is and dispel any misconceptions of what they are not.
The number one concern among parents is the safety risks those using the facility could pose to their children. Those with Coulee Council on Addictions addressed the concern, saying that drop-in and meeting times would be scheduled around school times.
Another common misconception on Wednesday afternoon was that the new facility will be residential. Executive Director of Coulee Council on Addictions, Cheryl Hancock, assured those at the meeting that will not be the case. Instead, the same mission and programming will carry over to the new location.
La Crosse Police Chief, Ron Tischer, attended the community with Officer Ron Secord. Tischer assured parents that in recent years, police have virtually never been called to the current Coulee Council on Addictions facility. Furthermore, two neighborhood resource officers will be stationed near the new facility, solely focused on patrolling the Washburn neighborhood.
Parents left the meeting feeling more comfortable moving forward.
"I knew it was something along the lines of a treatment facility or something related to drug and alcohol addiction and treatment," said Bobbi Goodman, a concerned parent. "I didn't know exactly what it was. We had an opportunity to express any worries or concerns we might have and those were answered. I found it very helpful."
Tom Thompson, the co-chair of the Voices for Recovery Campaign, wants the public to know that they have every intention of being good neighbors and positively involved in the neighborhood.
"We want to get as close to 100-percent with good feelings, good relationships with people," he said. "Where that ends up, I don't know. But, we're working extremely hard for that to happen."
Those in the neighborhood acknowledge that addiction is already in the area. They just want to make sure that the new facility would help the issue and not further it.
The public can weigh in on the Coulee Recovery Center on Thursday, August 16 at 7 p.m.