The Monroe City Council agreed earlier this week to table deciding whether to sell two city-owned properties after several citizens voiced opposition to plans for a rehabilitation facility at 1400 and 1401 Stubbs Ave.
Cole Sullivan, who proposed buying the properties from the city, planned to build a substance abuse rehabilitation facility on the properties. The facility would be owned by Sullivan and two of his business associates. Joe Montgomery, one of the owners, said the facility would be a low-level treatment program for patients who had already participated in a high-intensity program.
“There’s a huge need for one that’s run properly and that is providing the correct services to help these individuals come out on the other side recovered,” Montgomery said.
Danny and Carolyn Hunt, owners of Walk in the Word Kingdom Church on Stubbs Avenue, said they were concerned about the effect the facility could have on the community.
“I know Stubbs and 18th Street and how we have worked diligently to build that area up,” Carolyn Hunt said. “A lot of businesses are there and I don’t think this will fit in that area. I’m all for this kind of program, but not on Stubbs.”
Marie Brown, a concerned citizen, said she had seen negative effects in communities in Monroe where similar facilities exist.
“There is no control of the people in those homes,” Brown said. “To put in a facility like this, you’re going to see that neighborhood change.”
Montgomery said he understood the concerns from the community and made assurances that he and his co-owners planned to keep the facility and community safe.
“Unfortunately some of these facilities aren’t run as well as they could be but that’s not going to be the case with ours,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said patients were expected to be kept on a schedule and must meet certain criteria throughout the 60- to 90-day program or they would be kicked out.
City Council member Juanita Woods asked what would happen to those who were kicked out of the program, to which Montgomery said there was no plan for them. They would go wherever they chose, he said.
The City Council decided tabled a decision on the matter until October. Woods told Montgomery the owners of the facility needed to speak with the community and business owners before City Council could make a decision.
Meanwhile, the City Council voted to accept a $1.8-million grant from Discover Monroe-West Monroe—the local convention and visitors bureau—for a project expanding the tennis courts at Forsythe aThe city already committed $2,696,129 to complete the project. Kevin Crosby, who serves as a board member at Discover Monroe-West Monroe, said the expansion was expected to include eight new tennis courts for a total of 15 courts at the Forsythe Park tennis complex.
“This will help Ouachita Parish as well as our entire region,” Crosby said. “The direct impact of six new annual tournaments, which is what this is going to allow us to commit, will bring in over 500 participants and spectators per tournament, 2,727 new visitors to our area annually and a $1 million economic impact to our community.”
Crosby said this project would allow the city to reach its goal of having 30 tennis courts in Monroe because there would be 15 at Forsythe and 15 at the University of Louisiana-Monroe’s campus.
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