Drug center gets preliminary approval

$4 million treatment clinic planned in Sykesville

March 05, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The state has given preliminary approval to Carroll County's plans to build a $4 million treatment center for drug addicts on the grounds of the Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

Carroll County officials are negotiating nominal leases, probably $1 a year, with two state agencies - the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Public Safety and Corrections - for a 7-acre parcel at the southern end of the state hospital for the mentally ill. The land on Buttercup Road adjoins the state Central Laundry Facility, a minimum-security prison.

"We have had preliminary meetings and verbal concurrence from both agencies," Jolene Sullivan, director of Carroll's Department of Citizen Services, said yesterday.

Tom Rio, chief of the Carroll Bureau of Building Construction, said public safety officials have required a landscaped buffer and a few hundred yards between the treatment center and the prison. The site has more than enough land to fulfill those requests, he said.

The commissioners reviewed a survey of the site and a proposed access road yesterday and agreed with the plan. Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said he wanted to be certain that all surrounding property owners, including the town of Sykesville, were aware of the proposal.

"We want input from everyone," he said.

The state is circulating details of the proposal to agencies, businesses and residents along the Route 32 corridor, where the hospital is located. The Sykesville Town Council reviewed the proposal last week and unanimously supported the concept.

Sullivan has scheduled a March 30 public workshop that will bring together state and county officials and law enforcement personnel. Maps, cost figures and descriptions of services to be provided at the center will be available.

Information on security and property values will also be shared at the workshop, set for 7 p.m. at Oklahoma Road Middle School in Eldersburg.

"We want to provide the public with as much information as we can," Sullivan said.

The treatment center will also be near the state's new Public Safety Education and Training Center, where as many as 550 law enforcement officers will train each day.

Plans call for a 24-bed, 10,000-square-foot building that could possibly be expanded by 5,000 square feet. Most patients are expected to be 18 to 25 years old. Carroll residents would be given priority for the beds.

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