Bronx Locals Oppose Plans to Build Drug Treatment Facility near School
The school yard at P.S. 89 in Allerton is packed with children at play, just a few steps from this former law office on White Plains road. A proposal to turn the vacant brick building into a drug treatment facility has many in the neighborhood up in arms.
“This is going to be very dangerous. I know the crime will go up,” said Joseph Beqiri, a local storeowner.
“Those clinics should be at hospitals. Where they have security, guards, where they have licensed doctors,” said Paul Palushaj, another local storeowner.
“I don’t think it’s safe for the children. As an adult, I think I’m okay, but the children shouldn’t see that type of stuff not this early on,” said Krystal Figueroa, a parent.
The Carnegie Hill Institute, a drug counseling service based in Manhattan, made an offer to buy the1 story-brick building in September.
It was listed at $1 million dollars, but the community is urging the property owner not to accept the institute's bid. They have the support of local Assemblyman, Michael Benedetto. He's sponsoring a bill regulating where drug and alcohol treatment facilities can open.
“500 feet, no facility such as this would be within 500 feet of a school, 500 feet of a religious institution or 500 feet of a public park,” said NYS Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.
He says he proposed the bill after his office was flooded by complaints from residents in Throggs Neck who opposed the opposing of a methadone clinic there called Miracle City. They held rallies for weeks until the state’s office of addiction services and support denied the clinic’s license to operate.
Opponents say they’ll be using the so-called Miracle City Strategy here.
“We learned a lot from 2800 Bruckner Blvd and Miracle City where we fought them. We learned how the process works. We are ready for this one. We are going to challenge this every step of the way,” said Egidio Sementilli, a Community Organizer.
He says the community needs all their leaders to step in. The bill restricting where rehabs can open will be revised so that residents are given more of a heads up when these facilities are planned for their neighborhoods. It will be voted on next year.