Full chance for halfway house

Damascus House: Treatment facility has earned the right to a fair discussion of its plans.

January 04, 2001

YOU CAN understand why Brooklyn Park residents are concerned about a drug treatment halfway house's plans to nearly double its size.

That said, Damascus House has earned the right to be heard, too. The halfway house has operated innocuously from a two-story building on Ritchie Highway for 27 years. It has been a model citizen serving a difficult mission. The center houses adult males who are recovering from substance abuse.

Local police say they have no criminal complaints on record from the center. And many residents don't even know it's there. The center operates quietly, taking addicts who have completed treatment and helping them return to productive lives. The center boasts a 70-percent success rate, with graduates from all over the region.

The waiting list for this transitional treatment is long, which is why the house's operators want to help more people faster by adding 15 beds across the street from the existing 17-bed site.

The expansion could impose more on the community; but the center hasn't caused problems yet, so its operators are entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

A county zoning officer will hold a hearing today to discuss a zoning change that the halfway house needs to expand.

Residents owe their longtime neighbor a good, calm listen.

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